Jay-Bryan Cocadiz had just delivered the mail to a house on El Repetto Drive in Monterey Park when he smelled smoke. Then he saw the flames.
“I could see that a window was full of black smoke, and the fire was coming from the kitchen,” the 25-year Postal Service veteran said.
Cocadiz banged on the door of the home to alert the residents, whom he knew from previous mail deliveries.
“I was maybe 20 feet away, and I thought if anything explodes, I’ll be right in front of it, so I moved my vehicle further down the block and called 911,” Cocadiz said.
The owner of the home emerged from the garage shortly after, disheveled and soot-covered. He later told firefighters that the letter carrier’s banging and yelling woke him up.
When crews from the Monterey Park Fire Department arrived, they determined the fire, which started in the home’s den and shot through a shared wall to the kitchen, would have been uncontainable if not for Cocadiz’ quick action.
“Without his help, we could have lost an entire house and someone could have been extremely hurt,” said firefighter-paramedic Tyler Ayala. “He saved his life. He acted selflessly when he didn’t have to. As a community and as a fire department, we respect his actions that day.”