OLDSMAR — Postal carrier Lynette Boyer was doing what she normally does Friday afternoon on Oldsmar's Route 12.
Boyer was putting mail in the boxes of a residential neighborhood in East Lake when she smelled something electrical burning.
"I looked over and saw the black smoke coming from behind the house," Boyer, 36, said Monday. "I went to the house and rang the doorbell."
It was answered by Marlene Kules, a Chicago resident who spends winters at the 1398 River Oaks Court home.
Kules had no idea the back of her house was on fire. In fact, she thought the smoke and smell were coming from the man next door, who was using a pressure washer.
"I said, 'No, ma'am, the back of your house is on fire,' " Boyer said. "I then walked through the house to the sliding doors and showed her where the flames where coming from."
Kules, 70, left the home and wasn't injured. Her husband, Mike Kules, said the two were heading back to Chicago on Monday. He said he's grateful for Boyer's quick action.
"It was great to know that someone cared enough to take the time to come to the door," Mike Kules said. "We are quite happy."
Several neighboring fire departments, as well as the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, responded to the blaze at about 1:24 p.m. Friday.
The home's pool pump caught fire and spread through the back of the house and into the attic causing about $150,000 in damage, said Mark Teolis, fire investigator for East Lake Fire and Rescue.
Teolis said the damage would have been worse but the man with the pressure washer brought his hose to the back of the 2,500- square-foot ranch style home and put out the fire at the base of the pool pump and house's back wall. "He stopped and in 60 seconds he saw smoke in the roof," Teolis said.
Flames burned the roof in a back bedroom. Half of the house was damaged by heat and smoke, Teolis said.
In her 11 years on the job, Friday was Boyer's first time witnessing a house fire.
"I was just doing what I thought I needed to do," Boyer said. "I guess we are always looking out for our customers."
Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or email@example.com.