Postal worker credited with saving woman’s life from house fire

Firefighters responded to Birk Drive for a fire Tuesday morning. Photo from Jasper Police Department

A passing postal worker’s actions helped save a woman from a house fire in Jasper Tuesday.

The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department responded to a reported house fire at 2558 Birk Drive at about 10:32 a.m. According to Chief Kenny Hochgesang, the postal carrier identified as Shane Nicholson noticed smoke coming from the home and helped the homeowner, Lois Suydam, from the home onto the front porch.

Suydam had attempted to put out the fire that originated from a recliner and table located next to the front entrance to the home, said Hochgesang.

A Jasper city employee Scott Schnell was nearby preparing to do some survey work when the call went out for the fire. Schnell is the assistant chief of the Ireland Volunteer Fire Department. He arrived on the scene ahead of the fire trucks and rendered assistance to Suydam. He and the postal carrier were able to move her further from the structure.

Five trucks and 33 firefighters responded to the scene with officers from the Jasper Police Department. They knocked down the flames quickly but the home was filled with smoke and likely not livable, Hochgesang said. Firefighters also rescued a pet dog and cat during the incident.

Volunteer firefighters removed the family pets from the home.

Hochgesang estimated damage to the residence at $50,000 and stated it was likely a total loss due to the value of the home compared to the cost to repair it.

Suydam lived in the home with her son who was running errands at the time of the incident. He said the son has requested assistance from Red Cross for lodging.

Hochgesang said the fire started from smoking materials that were in use. He added that there were no working smoke detectors in the home.

Suydam was transported to the hospital and admitted.

Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services also assisted.

The fire was sourced to smoking materials used around a recliner that caught fire and spread to a nearby table.


  1. Yes, for sure, and it’s about time the USPS had some good publicity – they’ve needed it.

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