A local UPS driver is being credited by his company with calling in a report of smoke at a Mt. Vernon home that helped prevent a small fire inside from becoming a more serious blaze.

Nathan Allen Photo courtesy of UPS

Nathan Allen, 40, of Augusta was making a delivery Monday at a Belgrade Road residence when he smelled  “something electrical” burning from the garage and noticed a light haze of smoke. And it appeared no one was home.

Allen, who has been working for UPS for the past seven months, said he could tell the difference between a woodstove smoke smell and that of the more electrical, plasticky kind he was detecting.

He called 911 and waited for local fire crews to arrive before he continued on with his delivery route. Allen said he later learned that a plastic teacup had fallen onto the cook top and started to ignite while the homeowner was away.

“Nate’s quick thinking likely saved a family from losing their home during Christmas week,” UPS said in a statement.

Mt. Vernon Fire Chief Jason Beckler said it is unlikely the smoldering on the stovetop would have led to a full-blown structure fire, but “it was certainly a good call on his part to investigate.” Beckler said the small fire was out when his crews arrived on scene.

“We’re always happy to find it’s nothing to have to deal with,” Beckler said. “I have noticed they (delivery drivers) are calling in more things. The other day, it just so happened they stopped one of my guys about a downed power line. They are quite helpful.”

Allen said in an interview Thursday that he did not want to waste the time of firefighters, but “I figured it was the right thing to give a call.”

“I would like to think anybody in my facility, in my job, would have done the same thing,” Allen said. “I’m really happy nobody was hurt and there was no property damage.”

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