Deputy recognized for saving woman from Arden Hills house fire

Solomon Gustavo • Deputy Don Rindal was awarded a Class A Medal of Valor by Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier for saving a woman’s life from an April house fire in Arden Hills. He was honored during a ceremony in Little Canada June 27.

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office held an award ceremony at a Little Canada patrol station June 27, commemorating department staffers for bravery in a specific life-saving act, or for such bravery over the course of a career. 

One such life-saving act occurred April 27 when deputy Don Rindal pulled a woman from a home fully engulfed in flames in Arden Hills. For his actions, Rindal was honored by the sheriff’s office with a Class A Medal of Valor. 

The medal is awarded to those who put themselves at high risk without regard for personal safety to save someone, said Sheriff Jack Serier, who presented the award winners and put medals around their necks.

“Its service above self,” Serier said. 

The day of the fire, Rindal saw the call come through the dispatch system and assigned it to himself. He was the first to arrive and radioed to other agencies that the house was “fully engulfed,” according to the medal citation.

Neighbors standing outside told Rindal there was a person inside. Thick smoke poured out of the windows and roof as Rindal approached the front door. 

Intense heat and smoke came through the door frame and visibility was bad. Rindall got on the ground and shined his flashlight inside. About 10 to 15 feet inside, Rindall said in his report, he could make out bare feet.

Rindall crawled to the person and tried to drag them out but couldn’t. He left the house and re-entered, crawling further in. Rindall then stood up in the noxious smoke in order to pull the woman to the front porch. Once there, another person helped Rindal bring her across the street for aid before an ambulance arrived. 

Serier read the fire report from the Lake Johanna Fire Department, which handles fire services for Arden Hills. The fire department said the house structure collapsed into the hallway where the woman was, determining she “could not have survived one more minute.”

Rindall didn’t say a word and did little more but let out a bull’s exhale through his nostrils when a sheriff’s office photographer apologized for taking pictures. 

Serier said there is nothing deputies enjoy less than talking about their work — not in a curmudgeonly way, he pointed out, but because deputies see their actions, even life-saving ones, as simply what they should have done. 

Rindal was also awarded a Class B Medal of Merit for his work in the Public Safety Services Division. Also awarded were two different sets of correctional officers, both involved in stopping inmates from committing suicide at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center in St. Paul, and an officer for his career, which spanned over 30 years.  


— Solomon Gustavo 

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