Ryan Fisher, a field tech for Dakota Central, was on his way to a job on Friday morning when he spotted smoke coming from a house in the 300 block of 7th Avenue Northeast.
“I kind of glanced down the block and I seen some smoke coming out of the roof which didn’t seem right so I turned around and drove past the house and verified there was smoke coming out and I called 911,” he said.
The Jamestown Fire Department was dispatched at 9:31 a.m. to 311 6th Ave. NE.
Fisher remained on the phone with the dispatcher from the Stutsman County Communications Center, who asked if there was anyone in the house. Fisher said he didn’t know, but offered to check. He said the dispatcher replied if he was comfortable doing that and it was safe and since Fisher didn’t see any fire, he went to the house and knocked on the door.
“A gentleman answered and I told him the house was on fire and they needed to get out,” he said. “He had no idea. You couldn’t see or smell smoke.”
David Powers and Jannie Smith live in the home with their two cats. After putting one cat in a pet carrier, Fisher opened the door to a bedroom near the front door where the other cat was located and was greeted with smoke.
“I closed that door right away to try and contain the smoke to there,” he said.
A firefighter arrived separately at the home and Fisher helped get the couple’s two cats and Smith out of the residence.
Fisher said the Jamestown Police Department arrived 2 minutes into his 911 call and the Jamestown Fire Department a minute after that.
Five trucks and 24 firefighters responded to the report of smoke and were at the residence for an hour and 15 minutes, said Lt. Sheldon Mohr of the Jamestown Fire Department.
“It turned out to be a fire in the wall between two bedrooms and then a little bit of fire in the attic,” he said. “The cause was electrical.”
He said there was not a lot of smoke and the fire was small.
Powers said Friday afternoon that he and Smith and their cats are OK. He said there should be more people like Fisher.
“It was just great that he happened to be coming by whenever he did, I sure appreciate it,” Powers said. “He was a real nice guy.”
The American Red Cross was at the scene to help the couple get a temporary place to stay.
Mohr said the fire could have become more serious if Fisher had not seen it and called it in.
“The passerby that saw it, we say he saved the day,” Mohr said.
Fisher went back to work after helping the couple.
“It seemed like forever honestly, but from the time I made the call to the time I left was 15 minutes,” he said.
He said it was “just instinct to just do what you got to do, I never really thought twice about do I go to the door, do I not go to the door, that type of thing … later on you think about it and realize that you did probably a good thing and it could have been worse.”