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Wyandotte Municipal Worker Pulls Resident From Burning Home

Jim Sneed ran into the house in the 400 block of Cedar after realizing a man was still inside.

As fate would have it, Jim Sneed took a side street on the afternoon of March 28 as he drove to his next appointment.

The service technician from was en route to a house on Goddard as he drove down Fourth Street at about 2:15 p.m.

As he passed Cedar, he happened to look down the street and noticed

He high-tailed it the house in the 400 block and realized he was the first person on the scene.

“I went up to the door and the door was open,” he said. “I heard a man in there coughing, so I went in and got him.”

That proved to be more difficult that Sneed imagined.

“It didn’t look bad from the outside looking in, but once you got in, it was bad,” he said Thursday while surrounded by fellow city workers anxious to hear the story. “From the outside, I could see him. But when I walked in the house, I couldn’t see him.  The smoke was really bad. I shut my eyes and went down low. I heard him coughing.  All I could see was his arm, so I hooked his arm with my arm and just pulled him out.”

As the two men came out of the house, Sneed said, firefighters were pulling up. After assisting them in determining that no one else was in the house, Sneed hopped back into his service truck and continued to his next call.

While smoke and flames were going pretty good, Sneed said, he never hesitated to run into the burning house.

“Once I banged on the door and heard him say he was inside, I knew what I had to do,” he said. “I just figured I could be quick enough to run in there, hold my breath and not get killed in the process.”

With seven years on the job installing cable, phone and Internet in Wyandotte, Sneed said, nothing remotely close to this has ever happened to him before.

“We have an exciting job, but not exciting like this,” he said. “I hope someone would come in after me if I was in there. ... I just did my duty. I didn’t really think about it. I just did it and then took off back to work.”

That’s not surprising to Sneed’s boss, John Stambersky.

“This is about the biggest hero thing we’ve had happen around here that I can remember,” he said. “It’s really wild. It’s like something out of a movie. To know someone who did something like that in real life is kind of mind bending. When he told me the story, I had no trouble believing it at all. That’s just the kind of guy he is. It’s really cool to be working with people like that. A lot of people wouldn’t do that.”

Sneed blushed with all the praise tossed at him Thursday, but said he purposely never made a big deal about what happened. The story only got out because his friend and coworker, Paula Stanko, insisted on telling everyone.

“I did what anybody would do,” Sneed said. “I know cable guys usually don’t run into blazing fires. … I was just doing my job. I seen it and wanted to help the guy. I wouldn’t want anybody to burn up like that. If I could do it again, I would do it again if I could save someone from burning up. That’s got to be an awful way to go. “

Stanko said she’s honored to work with someone who is so giving–and brave.

“Once in a lifetime, you get to be the hero,” she said to Sneed. “We’re so proud of you.”

rdarin1 April 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM
What a selfless and brave thing to do. Thank you Jim. And no....not everyone would do that! You are a true hero!
Sharon April 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM
What a wonderful selfless act of kindness. It's refreshing to hear that others do things because it's just the right thing to do. You are truly an asset to our community and to humanity!!!
dave green April 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Jim....you lift us all.
David Justice April 20, 2012 at 01:30 PM
That is the way to be a true man, great job young man, wish the world had more of you here.
Jennifer Bates April 20, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Yes it was brave to go in a fire , there are also other people that helped like the lady next to him who first banged on the door. The man came out and wanted to go back in and they told him not too but he did, that when the other man pulled up and got him back out. Thanks to everyone that day.
Tim April 20, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Hats off to Mr, Jim Sneed, a true hero and to thoes that would go in to a burning house,to help someone out. not just to our fire fighters and police officers, but also to our every day people out there that would do that. great Job Jim.
JOHN s April 20, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Live long and prosper Jim!!!!
Mike S April 20, 2012 at 07:17 PM
That's my bro! Good job Jim we're proud of u
Sean April 20, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Go get 'em Captain. Where's your cape!?
Jeanann April 21, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Wow! So proud of you! So glad you are safe also!
Denise Pew/Holt April 21, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Denise Pew/Holt: Lisa's Mother inlaw in Florida. We need more heroes like you. God bless.
William Riley April 22, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Years ago as a Police Reservist, we came upon a house on Emmons with smoke comming out of it. I went in just a few feet yelling to see if anyone was inside. As it was, no one was, but that smoke hits you like a wall when you try to breath. Luckily, the fire was fairly new, and the Fire Department was able to save the house. Great job sir, and welcome to the Smoke Eaters Club!

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