Quick-acting garbage collectors rescue woman from Mount Clemens house fire

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – They’re definitely not your typical first responders, but had they not been in the equation, the outcome could have been different.

They were in the right place at the right time. A Priority Waste crew leaped into action and rescued a woman after her house went up in flames Thursday, April 3,

The crew was out on its typical route when the driver spotted smoke pouring out of a house on Inches Street in Mount Clemens. The men ran to help the woman who was stuck inside. Her smoke detector’s batteries had died and did not alert her to the fire until it was too late to get outside.

“Thank God, she’s alive. Almighty God saved her, we helped out,” said Gary Whitcher. “I jumped out, got my guys, I called 911. They rushed in there. It was very scary.”

“Luckily, he alerted us to what happened,” said Keeyon Lamar Beaty Jr. “We were already in the back and he noticed it like immediately.”

It took no time for the crew to jump into action and save the woman trapped inside. Norberto Altman kicked in the door.

“Looking for life, it was early in the morning,” Altman recalled. “I thought someone was probably at home sleep, but we’re the only ones at work.”

The crew ended up getting inside and rescuing the woman out of a bedroom window.

The fire department immediately went in and attempted CPR on a dog, who ultimately died.

The work the Priority Waste crew did was applauded by Mount Clemens Fire Chief Dan Reynolds.

“If they hadn’t been there, we believe this would have been fatal,” Reynolds said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but authorities said there’s no reason to believe it was anything suspicious.

About the Authors

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Dane Kelly is a digital producer who has been covering various Michigan news stories since 2017.

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