Sun-Gazette paper carrier saves woman from burning home
A Williamsport Sun-Gazette delivery carrier brought more than the Wednesday paper to a woman whose house caught on fire that morning.
Becky Levano, a 22-year carrier with the Sun-Gazette, leapt into action when she heard shouts and screams for help as she was making her deliveries in Loyalsock Township, just north of Montoursville.
“I kept hearing faint cries for help but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. The next street I turned onto, Cummins Street, I could see the smoke coming from the house,” Levano said.
The screams Levano heard were those of 65-year-old Sheila Myers, who was stuck at the back of her home at 1981 Inverness Road alongside her 11-year-old pugapoo, Buddy.
Myers has limited mobility due to a vehicle collision she was in years ago that made descending more than a foot from the back landing terrifying — and smoke was rapidly billowing out of the home. Myers said her prayers had been answered.
“All of a sudden, this girl appears right in front of me. I honestly thought she was an angel. She said, ‘I’m going to help you. I just called 911, fire and police are on their way but we need to get you out of there,'” Myers said.
Levano used her flashlight to shine where Myers would land by descending about 1 foot between the exit and the ground.
The house erupted into flames as soon as Myers descended from the back door to the ground.
That explosion frightened Buddy, Myers’ dog, who ran inside the house as it heard an explosion despite Myers’ protests. Buddy has not been seen since, Myers said.
Myers slowly crossed the yard, with encouragement and coaxing from Levano. Myers soon signaled a weak spot in the fence, and instructed Levano to kick it down. Through that gap, the two were able to slowly move away from the house, where state police helped drag Myers away from the house.
Myers explained how Levano had gone above and beyond the call of duty for a paper delivery person on-shift at 1:30 a.m.
A neighbor later took Myers into his home to give her a place to stay while they tried to contact her family. Unfortunately, Micah Myers, her son, had his phone in a separate room in his South Williamsport home.
According to Myers, Levano pulled out her phone and began to search South Williamsport for an address. Fortunately, Micah Myers owned a business, and the address was posted online.
“I think I found it,” Levano told Myers.
A few minutes later, South Williamsport Borough Police knocked loudly at Myers’ son’s front door.
“I heard someone pounding on the door. It was pretty consistent,” Micah Myers said.
Borough police did not tell Micah if his mother was safe — so he drove the entire way to Inverness Road praying for the best.
Sheila Myers said a source of strength for her during this time is, and has been, God.
“He helped us through our terrible car accident in 1997, and he will continue to. He always has, and always will,” Sheila said.
“God, you’ve gotta help me, you promised you would never leave me or forsake me,” Myers recalls praying as she rode her electric wheelchair, pushing away debris on the floor with a single crutch. “I can’t do this on my own — I need to get out of this house or I’m dead.”
And as Myers recalled how God helped her through a crash when she and her husband’s car was hit by a drunk driver to draw strength from the experience, she saw Levano waving out to her from beyond her yards’ fence. Levano, too, had been injured in a drunk driving collision.
As Levano was making her rounds delivering papers Wednesday morning, she had been speaking to her husband on speakerphone, according to Myers. Additionally, Myers said Levano said she was partially deaf — yet, she managed to hear Myers’ screams for help.
The small community around Inverness Road came together after the fire, Levano said.
“I saw that night, a lot of neighbors came together after it. (One neighbor) kept her at his house until her sons arrived… He was crying and hugging and thanking me… Multiple neighbors came to check on her,” Levano said. “It was just nice to see our community come together and be there for one another.”
Still, Levano maintains a humble role in the conclusion of the incident.
“To me, I just did what anyone else should do. I don’t consider myself a hero. I just wanted to make sure she was safe,” Levano said. “I was scared, but my main concern was if I could just save her.”
Although the home on Inverness Road is uninhabitable, Myers suffered no injuries and is staying with family at the moment. However, her dog Buddy is nowhere to be seen as of Thursday evening, and is believed to have escaped the home too.
“My little dog was my lifeline since my kids grew up and moved away and my husband had to go to a nursing home. Buddy’s been my little shadow,” Myers said. “Everywhere I went, he followed me. But the goodness of people has made me not cry and made me not worry.”
“We’re so proud of Becky. Yet, we’re not surprised that she acted so quickly to help the homeowner escape the explosion and fire,” Anthony Segraves, the Sun-Gazette’s delivery and operations manager, said. “Not only is Becky one of our best carriers, she’s a phenomenal person. We’re grateful to work with Becky for so many years.”
“The Sun-Gazette plans to recognize and reward Becky and her family. She clearly risked her life while saving another,” Sun-Gazette Publisher Bob Rolley said. “We’re grateful Becky was at the right place at the right time to help. On behalf of Sun-Gazette readers and staff, ‘Thank you, Becky.'”