Alert Newspaper Carrier Spots House Fire

Tuesday, August 15th 2006, 6:12 am
By: News On 6

An alert newspaper carrier found some news on his route Tuesday morning. A house fire was burning and there was a woman inside.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says there is not much left of the home after a fire early Tuesday morning destroys a home just west of Harvard near 2nd and Montclair.

Herb Denney is happy he didn't lose his sister in the fire that destroyed her house. "The roof and the ceiling are all in the floor." The fire was already burning along the roofline when a newspaper carrier called it in.

Newspaper carrier Quinn Dunlap: "big old flames were up the west side and smoke was all over the top of it." The fire had started with a lightning strike on the west side of the house. The newspaper carrier says when he came by there was a lot of smoke and he figured someone was inside because there was a car in the driveway.

Dunlap ran along the side of the home and beat on the windows until he woke up the lady who lived inside. "I guess she happened to be on that side and she heard me and she came on out."

Tulsa firefighters said it was blazing when they arrived. It was a 1940's era house, with dry wood and a couple of layers of roof that made the fire hard to stop. With such an intense fire, and a person inside, they're giving the paper carrier credit for saving a life. Tulsa Fire Department’s Bob Stern: "I did have a report the house had smoke detectors but they weren't working so if it was not for the person delivering the newspapers I'm not sure what the outcome would have been."

Quinn Dunlap says he doesn't feel like a hero - but he hopes to get an old customer back. "She quit getting the paper a few months ago, but maybe she'll start back up again."

The homeowner believes lightning started the fire and it's possible the fire smoldered for a while before it was discovered, and that made it burn more quickly.

The homeowner wasn't hurt, but she and her dog are going to be living with her brother until she can figure out what to do now.