PINE LAWN, Mo. – A construction superintendent who went to check on a burning, vacant home across from his work site Wednesday ended up saving woman from a heinous crime, police say.

An investigation is underway after a fire in a vacant home in Pine Lawn Wednesday morning.

Photo credit: Nona Goforth
Photo credit: Nona Goforth

Jim Davis, who was working at a site on Sylvan Place called 911 after a worker told him a house across the street appeared to be on fire. He went to the house to yell inside and ask if anyone was in there.

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"I watch the news all the time. There's always people stuck in vacant houses when there's fires,” he said.

His intuition was spot on. As soon as he yelled inside, he said he got a response.

"Heard her moaning in the front window, ‘Help me, help me, help me,’” he said.

When Davis tried to get in through the doors and windows, he realized they were stuck or possibly bolted shut. He broke a window to get to the woman and told 5 On Your Side the smoke was so thick he could barely see.

"It was smoke filled. She couldn't see her way. I couldn't see nothing. Kept screaming and telling her to find my voice,” Davis said.

He pulled her from the home and onto the lawn to safety. He said she was crying and she would only say one thing.

"She kept repeating, 'He raped me, he raped me,’” he said.

As for Davis' actions, he told 5 On Your Side he's no hero and was just in the right place at the right time.

She was transported to a hospital to be checked out. No one else was found in or near the home.

Neighbors said the house in the 3700 block of Sylvan has been vacant for years.

Captain Clay Farmer with the North County Police Cooperative said investigators believe the rapist set the fire to kill that woman and cover up the crime. He said the woman did not know her attacker.

Davis said he doesn’t believe the woman could have survived the fire.

"She probably wouldn't have made it. She was stuck in there,” he said.

But he doesn’t consider himself a hero, even though he saved her life.

Fire crews from Ferguson, University City and Northeast responded around 10 a.m. Officials believe someone intentionally set the house on fire. Police do not have any suspects in custody.