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Kansas City-area postal worker saves residents from apartment fire

quinton neal.jpeg
Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 20:33:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A postal worker risked his life Tuesday night to warn people about a fire inside their Kansas City, Missouri, apartment building.

Quinton Neal said he was near the 5200 block of Independence Avenue when he saw smoke, then fire burning out the window of a three-story apartment building. When he noticed someone in the top window, he turned around – and people in the window watched that happen.

“I kicked out the window, and I yelled, 'Help, help!' And I see him driving by and he stops,” said Shannon Holm, who was stuck inside the apartment. “Next thing I know, he's up the fire escape, pushing in my windows. And he was right there for us, and I'm glad he was.”

Neal said he parked the UPS vehicle in front of the building, then ran to the door and kicked it open, screaming, “Hey, is anybody in here? Where are you, where are you?”

He heard somebody scream from the top floor to come to the fire escape.

“When I saw them in the window, I tried to pull the fire escape down,” Neal said. “But the fire escape, it was stuck. So I jumped off the wall and up the fire escape to help them out the window.”

Neal helped one person down, then helped Holm and Holm’s dog get out, and, finally, tried to help a woman down – but she feared heights.

“I saw the neighbor with a roofing ladder, so I ran over with the roofing ladder and brought the roofing ladder over next to the fire escape," Neal said. "And I climbed up the roofing ladder, helped her on the ladder, and assisted her down. And the whole time I was assisting her down, I was telling her, ‘Everything’s going to be OK. I’m right here.'"

Neal said that with his prior law enforcement background, when he sees somebody in danger, he helps them. He has worked with the postal service for more than a year, and said this incident was just a different way to help people.

“With the post office, you’re helping people get their medicine, helping people pay their bills, helping people do other things," Neal said. "You don’t come to work thinking, ‘Hey I could save some people from a fire.’ But that was just part of the job.”

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