Dan Thibeault said he never thought he was the kind of person who would run into a burning building, until that situation arose in southeast Ottawa Thursday morning.

The 42-year-old said he saw his neighbour's two-storey house at 8531 Mitch Owens Road completely engulfed in flames around 4:30 a.m. and knew he had to act.

"You couldn't see (anything). Everything outside, inside, everything was total fire - like you were running in fire," he said.

"The rain barrel, there was 55 gallons of water there and I was able to clear a path . . . to where he was laying on the ground."

Thibeault said he picked up 65-year-old Don Bickerton, who was injured but conscious, and carried him over his shoulders to safety.

"(I said) 'I gotcha. I gotcha and I'm going to get you out of your home,'" he said. "Propane tanks were blowing up in front of the house, I burnt some of my clothing getting him out."

"He didn't even think twice," said Brigitte Dubeau, who witnessed the rescue.

"He just threw on some clothes - he told me '(My) clothes are all on backwards and inside out, I don't care, I just had to get in there and get him out of that house.'"

Paramedics said Bickerton was treated for first and second-degree burns to his head and forearm, as well as smoke inhalation. He was taken to hospital in stable condition.

Dubeau said Thibeault is a hero.

"I'm extremely happy that there's still some good people out there," she said. "And that he was basically willing to put his life on the line to go in and save the neighbour."

"He's my neighbour and he's my friend too . . . I dunno," Thibeault said whe asked if that was the case. "I'm just glad that I was there to get him out of his home."

Damage is estimated at $200,000 to the building, where Bickerton lived alone, and its contents.

The cause is under investigation.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua