COLLINSVILLE • Two friends were on their way to watch a St. Louis Blues hockey game on TV on Friday night when they saw some commotion: frantic people outside a burning house on South Hesperia Street.
"I rolled down the window and we heard, 'My grandma's in there! My grandma!" recalled Jared Grzywacz, 20.
He and Collin Fenton, also 20, stopped to help. Moments later, they were helping carry 88-year-old Margaret Roso through a ground-floor window.
"We just went up to the house, and through the window, picked her up, and put her in our car," Grzywacz said. "Probably three minutes after that, the whole thing was in flames."
Said Fenton, "It was good we showed up when we did."
Roso's daughter, her daughter's boyfriend, and Roso's granddaughter all escaped the house. The family's two kittens did not make it.
The friends ended up sitting in the car and listening to the Blues lose their fifth straight game.
Sunday night, they agreed to a phone interview during the first intermission of a Blues winner, which they watched at Grzywacz's house.
Fenton graduated from Collinsville High School in 2014 and Grzywacz in 2015. Fenton is a student at Southwestern Illinois College who works part time at Shop 'n Save. Grzywacz is a technician for Truck Centers Inc., which repairs semi tractor trailers.
They said they didn't feel like heroes. Just normal guys helping out.
"Anyone would do something like that," Fenton said.
Collinsville Fire Chief Kevin Edmond told the Belleville News-Democrat the fire started on the outside of the home about 7:40 p.m.
Fire crews from at least Troy, Maryville, Edwardsville and Glen Carbon responded to the three-alarm fire, he said. The house was heavily damaged. More details were not available on Sunday.