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Man rescues as many as 10 people from fire at St. Louis apartment building

Arez Merriweather, 30, went back into the burning apartment building several times.

ST. LOUIS — At a St. Louis apartment building fire Monday morning, one man rescued as many as 10 people. It happened at Hillvale Apartments on Selber Court.

Arnez Merriweather, 30, said he did it by remaining calm and simply doing what was needed.

RELATED: 5 treated, including child, after apartment fire in north St. Louis

“I just came out the building we started yelling and next thing you know, second-floor window opened," Merriweather said. "We ran around the back, everybody was trying to get out. One lady dropped her baby, and I caught her baby. Then she jumped out and I caught her. And her mom jumped out and I caught her, and we both fell.”

Merriweather said by that time apartment management had arrived on the scene with a truck loaded up with ladders.

“After we got the ladder situated, I went up to the third floor,” he said, “grabbed the first baby, came back down. Went back up grabbed second baby, came back down.”

Next, Merriweather said he went back to tend to two people on the second floor.

“I went up and helped the older lady. Her leg was caught, and she was kind of frantic, so I calmed her down. And when I got on the ladder we climbed down, together.”

Finally, Merriweather said he went back in to help that woman’s brother evacuate.

“After that, some commotion happened,” said Merriweather. “Calmed everybody down at the bottom and I ran back to grab the third ladder that was at the third floor. Me and the one-armed guy ran around to the back because there was somebody else at the third floor. By that time, I was tired. I could barely breathe, for real. And there was a lot of smoke coming out.”

Asked how it is he knew how to do all that, Merriweather said, “I go off instincts. I calm down and just focus.”

Firefighters arrived on scene and treated a total of five people, including three who went to the hospital.