Woman Honored For Saving Neighbor From House Fire

Monday, April 30 is Cathryn Stepps Day in the city of St. Louis.

Brett Blume
April 30, 2018 - 4:32 pm

Cathryn Stepps is embraced by the man she saved from a house fire last month, Emmett Powell. (KMOX/Brett Blume)


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Monday, April 30 is Cathryn Stepps Day in the city of St. Louis.

Who's Cathryn Stepps, you ask?

She's a north St. Louis resident who put her own life on the line last month by running into a neighbor's burning home and leading him to safety.

"When I opened the door, the smoke like threw me back," Stepps recalled during a special ceremony at St. Louis Fire Department headquarters. "I was like, 'I can't get in here.' So I didn't think too much of it, I just put my shirt over my face and felt my way."

She eventually made her way to a couch in the Penrose neighborhood home of Emmett Powell, who fell asleep forgetting that he had put grease on the stove for that evening's dinner.

"With no firefighting training, no protective equipment, and with little regard for her own personal safety, she forged ahead," described St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, from a proclamation presented during the ceremony. "The courage and compassion displayed by Ms. Stepps was nothing short of SHE-roic!"

For her part, Stepps seemed a bit embarrassed by all the fuss made over her.

"I don't look at myself as a hero, it was just a blessing," she said.

But one person who's glad that Stepps put it all on the line is the man she saved.

"I think she's a great lady," Powell effused. "And I'm so grateful she did it; I thank God for her."

For her quick thinking and selfless actions, Jenkerson presented Stepps with the St. Louis Fire Department's Civilian Fire Rescue Award.

"We don't give this one out very often," he said.