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Mail carrier honored for quick action

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Hyannis letter carrier Dennis Fisher sorts mail for his route at the Hyannis office. He was honored by the U.S. Post Office for helping evacuate a home on fire he discovered in March while delivering his route.Cape Cod Times/Steve Heaslip

HYANNIS — Letter carrier Dennis Fisher thought residents of 86 Hamden Circle were burning brush in their yard — until he realized flames were shooting up the roof of the house.

On Thursday morning, Fisher received a letter of commendation from the Postmaster General of the United States for pounding on the door of the Hyannis home and alerting residents of a fire.

"We can be the eyes and ears of the community," said Michael Powers, U.S. Postal Service district manager for the greater Boston area, at a brief ceremony at the Hyannis Post Office. "Dennis had an opportunity to do something and he did it."

Fisher, who has delivered mail in the Hyannis ZIP code for two years, was driving his mail truck on March 18, when he came upon the fire. The flames were coming up one side of the building and over the roof, said Hyannis Deputy Fire Chief Dean Melanson.

He knew people were inside because all the familiar cars were in the driveway, Fisher said.

"I banged on the door and I got them out," Fisher said. "We tried to get a hose on the fire but it was frozen."

The Fire Department's response was delayed because of a language barrier with the neighbor who dialed 911 so firefighters first went to a home on Orrs Avenue, Melanson said.

Laurie Crocker, the homeowner, told the Times in March she had no idea the house had caught fire or how it happened. She said her family are all nonsmokers and they weren't doing any outdoor burning. Melanson said the Fire Department never determined the official cause.

The fire did not destroy the house and residents have been able to remain there, Melanson said.

Fisher downplayed the excitement of the event, saying, "It's an unspectacular story."

"They know the people on their routes," Melanson said. "They worry when the mail hasn't been picked up for a day. We've had many rescue calls come from them."