UPDATE @ 8:27 p.m. (July 9): A newspaper carrier dismissed the danger to himself early Tuesday in helping a Springfield couple escape the fire that destroyed their home on Lawnview Avenue.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Springfield firefighter hurt, pets perish in Middle Street house fire
Joshua Barker, who delivers the Springfield News-Sun, had just started his route when he smelled something burning.
He thought it was his car -- until his fiancee Amanda pointed to the flames. He called 9-1-1.
“I noticed the vehicles were still there, but nobody was outside,” Barker told News Center 7’s Monica Castro on Tuesday evening. “So I knew there were people inside.”
The emergency dispatcher, then Springfield police warned him not to try entering the burning home because it was too risky.
“I knew I had to do something, even though the cops up the street were screaming and yelling at me, telling me not to go towards the fire,” Barker said.
“What else are you supposed to do when you know there’s people in the house. You just can’t leave them there.”
Barker said he thought about his 6-year-old son and realizes now that he put himself in danger when he ran up to the house and pounded on the doors and the house until the occupants came out about 5 minutes later.
He’s just glad he was in the area, that he recognized his customers’ home.
There was a sketchy moment, he recalled, when the woman tried to go back into the house to save her bearded dragons.
“The husband and I had to stop her,” Barker said. A family cat was saved. The reptiles didn’t make it.
The Springfield Fire Rescue Division, on its Facebook page, blamed the fast moving fire that started at the front of the house on “the careless disposal of smoking materials.”
When the crew arrived with six pieces of apparatus, the porch had collapsed already. Crews were dispatched just before 3 a.m. on the report of a possible structure fire.
“The occupants had, in fact, escaped prior to our arrival,” read the online report.
Their escape was because of Barker, who said he wouldn’t call himself a hero.