Letter Carrier Miguel Munoz started his day just like any other, but it would end like no other.
Munoz began his deliveries when he smelled gas as he approached a small, two-story, four-unit apartment building.
Munoz immediately ran upstairs and began knocking on the residents’ doors, but no one answered.
As the smell intensified, Munoz went downstairs, banged on another door and Justin Byrne quickly rushed outside.
Munoz showed the resident where the possible gas leak was coming from and told l the resident how to turn off the gas. The resident didn’t have the tools to turn it off, so he contacted the landlord, who lived on-site. He shut off the gas valve.
As it turned out, the tenant above Byrne had turned on her oven while the pilot light was unknowingly blown out and had left it on for several hours, flooding the entire building with gas. A single spark could have spelled disaster for everyone.
“I thank God that there are still people out there willing to go out of their way to help others,” said Byrne. “People are remiss when it comes to helping. But I am grateful for the Miguel Munoz’ in the world.” Byrne was so grateful that he wrote a letter to the North Hollywood Postmaster heralding Munoz as a hero.
When Munoz smelled the gas, he quickly went into action, thanks in part to his military training. Munoz is retired from the U.S. Navy. “I lost my son two years ago in an accident, and I wish someone would’ve come to his aid,” said Munoz. “So when I came upon this situation, my naval training, along with my compassion for people, kicked in and I immediately took action. In the service, we were taught to extend the lives of others, so that’s what I tried to do. It makes me feel good that such a simple action had such a profound impact on the residents of the apartment complex.”
“Our city letter carriers have always played a vital role in our nation’s communities by being vigilant and aware,” said North Hollywood Postmaster Mary Jane Smith. “Miguel has always demonstrated a high level of commitment to his job and care for the customers on his route. We are very proud of Miguel for taking the initiative to act. His quick actions certainly averted a horrific life-threatening event.”