Newspaper Carrier Steps Out Car on Route & Notices Strange Smell. Partner Calls 911


For several years now, Kathleen Thomas has been a dedicated newspaper carrier in her hometown of Pennsylvania, even during the harsh winter season.

Along with her son and work partner, Jeff Shinko, the pair has become well-known faces to residents in their surrounding counties.

While their job has always focused on delivering papers for The Citizens’ Voice, there were times when it involved events outside of their normal workday.

Thomas, in particular, has come across random incidents such as fallen trees and horses running free.

Investigators Find Cause of Fatal Roller Coaster Derailment: 'We Will Make Sure Something Like This Will Never Happen Again'

In any situation, she has always made sure to stay vigilant. For her, delivering the daily paper has come with a duty to serve others.

“It’s not all about the newspaper,” she said. “Sometimes it’s about the customers.”

There’s never a dull moment for Thomas and Shinko while on their delivery route. Wednesday, Jan. 3 was a prime example of one of these eventful days.

While distributing papers to Lehman Township residents in Pike County, one home instantly caught their attention. As Thomas stepped out of the car, she noticed a strange smell in the air.

The scent was natural gas, according to Thomas. She said, “As soon as I stepped out it was very bad.”

The horrid smell prompted her son to call the customer of the home. When he couldn’t get in contact with the person, their next move was calling 911.

Back Mountain Regional Fire Department quickly evacuated the home after determining there was a pipe leakage in the home, most likely related to the weather conditions. UGI Utilities were also called to shut off the gas and secure the area.

Since the incident, the residents have returned home, and Thomas’ heroic efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Rural Indiana City Offers 'Stand-in Grandparents' to New Residents

Even nearby resident, State Sen. Lisa Baker, commended the carrier who she said is a reliable worker.

“Not only did she act very promptly but Back Mountain EMS got here quickly,” Baker said. “Her quick-thinking action certainly helped my neighbors.”

Things could have gone horribly wrong if it wasn’t for Thomas’s attentiveness.

As Deputy Fire Chief Jay Wilkes would say, “she did a great job,” and an even better one at making sure her customers were safe.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.