When Richard Kreig saw smoke lingering like fog as he drove on a city street, the former volunteer firefighter's only words to his wife and two children were, "I gotta pull over."
Kreig saw a woman lying on the ground and a man heading inside a burning house yelling that his child was still inside. Kreig ran inside, too.
"Anybody in their right mind would do that," Kreig said Wednesday as he recounted his actions at about 5 p.m. Tuesday. Kreig was driving through the city, which is 28 miles south of Albany, on his way home to Germantown.
Crouching in thick smoke the two men ran up the stairs only to find the flames were too intense on the second floor.
"He was hollering 'My baby's in here!' He was hollering 'You got to get him! You got to get him!' " Kreig said. Kreig told the panicking man to get out and began yelling for the child.
"I just kept hollering 'Little boy!' because I didn't know his name," Kreig said. He turned to see the child wandering through the smoke, picked him up and ran. The other man escaped as well.
The boy did not suffer any serious injuries, said Rodney Pulzer, the city's fire chief.