A deputy fire chief ran into a burning mobile home without his safety gear and rescued two children, authorities said.

Bruce Wightman was called at home about the fire a little after 1 a.m. Wednesday. He rushed to the scene in his street clothes and saw flames and smoke, Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius said.

When Wightman learned two children were inside, he used a police officer's baton to break a back-door window and unlock the door, Sigfinius said. He crawled down a smoke-filled hallway and found the children, a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, in a bedroom at the rear of them, and carried them out.

The children were in fair condition Wednesday at Hennepin County Medical Center, Sigfinius said. The children's mother escaped unhurt.

He said Wightman didn't have time to put on protective gear.

"He is a trained firefighter and he knew what he was getting into and knew how far he could crawl," Sigfrinius said. "I never recommend this for a civilian. He showed a lot of bravery."

Sigfrinius said his department is working with the state Fire Marshal's office to determine a cause.