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Published: Friday, 5/9/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Blade employee springs into action after spotting smoke billowing from Toledo home


An employee of The Blade delivering the paper early Friday morning sprang into action when she spotted smoke billowing from a Toledo home.

Antoirnette Burns, who has been delivering papers for the Blade for 16 years, noticed the house fire at about 4 a.m., called 911 and banged on the doors and windows of the house in the 1200 block of Vance Avenue to alert anyone who might be sleeping inside. 

When there was no response she started yelling and banging on the doors of neighboring homes.

“I should be hoarse by now because I never stopped yelling,” Ms. Burns said.

Fortunatey Ms. Burns was wrong about someone being inside the structure. Toledo Fire Department officials said details about the fire were not available Friday evening, though the blaze caused about $7,000 damage.

“I was thinking it's the middle of the night that somebody is asleep in there. Then I thought I need to call the fire department. Then I thought I need to move – I need to do something. I couldn't just stand there and wait for 911,” she said.

13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Ms. Burns said this is not the first time her job has allowed her to come to the aid of people on her route. She was one of the first to discover a huge sinkhole had opened on Fernwood Avenue near Detroit Street in March. Ms. Burns was concerned that other drivers would not see the hole in the dark that after alerting authorities, so she sat near the spot shining the lights from her car on the hole for hours, waiting for daylight.

“I think we are all neighbors,” Ms. Burns said. “I hope somebody would do the same for me and my family.”

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at: mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-841-3892.

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