The fire was out in just a few minutes, and it did not penetrate inside the home, said Dave Schmitke, spokesman for Fire District 6.
“The whole thing was pretty surreal,” said Long, a subcontractor delivering papers on the route since December. “I had a lot of adrenaline going on. It was pretty intense. I realized later that the crackling sound I heard was the sound of a campfire. Had I been there 20 minutes earlier or 20 minutes later, it would have been a totally different story.”
It was the crackling sound that put Long on alert, he said. “That was an odd noise I hadn’t heard before on the route.”
It also helped that Fire District 6 had a unit nearby responding to a vehicle collision. Firefighters were able to arrive on the scene five minutes before other units in the area, Schmitke said.
But without Long’s quick actions, Schmitke said things could have been very different.
“He was in the right place at the right time,” Schmitke said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Graves said fire officials have told him it could have resulted from spontaneous combustion in the fine bark dust near the porch.
Graves was thankful Long woke him up.
“A few more minutes, and it could’ve been a lot worse,” Graves said.