A newspaper carrier who rescued an elderly couple from a burning house in Taranto on Monday said the response to his actions “has been a little overwhelming”, as praise for his bravery pours in and people rally to help her recover from the losses she suffered in a car fire just two days before the rescue.

Jennifer Colarossi, 38, of the Natrona Heights section of Harrison, who has been delivering the Tribune-Review for about six months, was on her delivery route early Nov. 7 when she smelled smoke coming from a house in the 900 block of Grantham Street. in the west of Taranto.

She called 911 and sprang into action when she heard a call for help just inside the front door of the house. There she found a man on the threshold amid thick black smoke. His wife was on the floor inside.

The woman couldn’t move due to a previous health condition and her husband didn’t want to leave the house without her, Colarossi said.

So she dragged the woman to the porch and pulled the man out just as first responders arrived.

When she was cleared by authorities to leave, Colarossi resumed delivering her papers.

Jennifer L. Bertetto, president and CEO of Trib Total Media, sent a letter this week thanking Colarossi for his actions.

The company also presented Colarossi with a check for $7,500 to help replace his car and other belongings that were destroyed when the vehicle caught fire about a week ago. The car was not covered for fire damage and she lost about $400 worth of items she had just purchased at the Pittsburgh Mills mall.

“Heroes are said to do the right thing, regardless of the consequences,” Bertetto wrote in the letter. “Early Monday morning, your actions were the definition of heroism. In the eyes of all in the Alle-Kiski Valley, a hero was among us.

“When you smelled smoke on your delivery route and found a house engulfed in flames, you took action. An immediate call to 911 is what anyone would do. But you went further” , wrote Bertetto.

“Without hesitation, you went looking for people in the house. You discovered them, an elderly couple, and guided them to safety,” Bertetto wrote. “Without a doubt, you saved their lives.

“You put yourself in danger, even if you have a family of your own. Two days before, you suffered a personal loss from a fire – a terrible coincidence that makes your act all the more selfless. I cannot fully express how your actions touched the hearts of everyone in our community.

“I am convinced that the world is a better place thanks to you,” Bertetto wrote to Colarossi.

Colarossi said she received many messages “from people who don’t even know me, never met me before”, thanking her for saving the couple.

“I really appreciate all the kindness from everyone,” she said. “It’s just amazing that there are so many great people around, and I’m glad my kids can see that. Everything that happened after that fire was a blessing.

Colarossi is a single mother with four daughters, aged 19, 17, 7 and 5. In addition to her part-time job as a Trib delivery boy, she works part-time in the medical field.

She said the elderly couple’s daughter, who lives in Pittsburgh, contacted her via social media the day of the fire to express her gratitude.

“The first thing she said to me was, ‘Thank you so much for being there to save my mom and my dad,'” Colarossi said.

While the messages from friends and strangers touched Colarossi deeply, she said hearing the couple’s daughter brought her to tears.

“It was very emotional. I told him that I was just happy to be able to do something for them,” Colarossi said.

A gofundme page to help Colarossi replace her vehicle and lost property has also been set up.

Colarossi’s decision to act when she encountered the house fire also caught the attention of officials from the Carnegie Hero’s Fund, who nominated her for a medal.

His actions will be reviewed by the organization’s board in early 2023. Officials say the process typically takes several months before the winners are announced.

The woman Colarossi rescued is still receiving medical treatment for smoke inhalation and her husband has received temporary housing assistance from the American Red Cross, according to Josh Fox, head of the Summit Hose Company in West Tarentum.

“The fire was contained to the basement, but the first and second floors were damaged by smoke and heat,” Fox said. “The house is boarded up and they will need to hire a restoration company before anyone can go back.”

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tony by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .