USPS Letter Carrier Helps Customer Escape Fire

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Hanson Postmaster Donald Nelson, rural Letter Carrier Carrie McDermott, and Manager Steve Cabezas

Postal Proud: USPS Rural Letter Carrier Helps Customer Escape Fire

The benefits of having a husband as a fire fighter paid off for Carrie McDermott when she started her new job at The Postal Service®.

McDermott had been hired as a rural carrier associate (RCA) for the Post Office™ in Hanson, MA. When her husband found out, he informed her that, “Mail people and police always run into fires.”

With 16 years of firefighting experience under his belt, he should know. So he went over possible scenarios such as: if she heard fire alarms — that was a good sign a fire was occurring. “You’re like a first responder,” he told her. “Call 911.”

But what were the chances that it would actually happen? Carrie found out in her first three months on the job.

Sounds of Alarms Alert Carrier of Danger

She was delivering mail to a house on her route and thought she heard alarms going off but went across the street to her next delivery. “I thought I’d better go back and check that house. This time I could see the fire,” she explained.

Since she was prepared because of her husband’s lesson, Carrie called 911. She then saw an elderly resident who turned back into the house. Carrie ran up to the door, called to the customer and helped her leave.

“Fire damage was limited to the kitchen area with heavy smoke damage throughout the entire house,” said Hanson Fire Chief Jerome Thompson in a press release also saying that Carrie’s “actions allowed early notification to the fire department which prevented significant fire spread, and [she] removed an elderly occupant from a potential life-threatening situation.” Two dogs were also saved.

Carrie with husband Josh McDermott

Quick Action Recognized

Thompson led his department in presenting the McDermott with an award a few weeks later at a town hall meeting amidst family, postal coworkers, and fire fighters from Hanson and Carver – the town where her husband serves.

Postal Operations Manager Steve Cabezas echoed the fire chief’s praise at the meeting describing yet another postal-fire fighter connection. Cabezas read a letter of thanks from Northeast Area Vice President Edward Phelan, who not only had been a USPS letter carrier but also had a long career in volunteer fire service as well.

Phelan wrote to Carrie: “Through my years with the Postal Service, I know that letter carriers and rural carriers are often close to the scene when a tragedy occurs in the neighborhoods they serve. I know that moments make a difference and you certainly delivered a difference to this family. Your attentiveness is an example to us all.”

“We are proud of Carrie and what she did,” said Postmaster Donald Nelson. She has been training on an auxiliary route with 249 customers and learning another route with approximately 638 customers.