MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - It was just another day on the job for Comcast Technical Supervisor Greg Fee, but after he took a wrong turn on the way to a customer’s house, he noticed smoke billowing from a building and jumped into action.
On Friday, July 26, Fee ended up near the 700 block Central Avenue in northeast Minneapolis when he saw smoke coming from an industrial building that housed office space.
“I look across and I see a gentleman trying to get out of the building... his head is coming out of the upper window,” Fee said.
Inside that building, on the second floor, Hosie Thurmond was working with a new member of his financial group, Members Only Collective.
“As we were working, we're just doing our work or whatever, we start hearing some really loud bangs,” Thurmond said.
Thurmond went to the door of their office space to see what was going on.
“As I opened that door, it was a huge fire. The whole hallway was on fire,” Thurmond said.
With the door blocked, the only way out of the building for Thurmond and the three other people inside the space was through a small window, just big enough to fit an air conditioner unit.
“We take a look out and we see a 20 to 25 foot drop,” Thurmond said.
As smoke started filling the room, Thurmond and the others inside were getting ready to make the dangerous jump. That’s the moment they were spotted by Fee. Fee made a U-turn in traffic and rushed over to the building.
“It was a reaction only. No thinking. I’ve pulled my ladder off of my truck 100 times, 1,000 times before, so that was muscle memory at that point,” Fee said.
The four people trapped inside started climbing down to safety. The last person out was coughing and told Fee and Thurmond the room was so full with smoke, he could hardly see.
“I could tell by the look on their faces it was a sense of relief,” Fee said.
“At best, if Greg hadn’t stopped we would at least have a couple broken legs or be seriously injured and at worst, we really could have died,” Thurmond said.
Thurmond said it took him a few days to realize how close of a call he and the other people in the office building had that day.
“I’m just ultimately really appreciative that [Fee] was there and that we live in a city where people really want to give back and would do that,” Thurmond said.
Fee said he was just doing the right thing and is grateful he had the tools to help people at just the right time.
Thurmond said there were no fire alarms going off in the building. FOX 9 called the Minneapolis fire inspector to ask if the building was up to fire code. We did not hear back.
“Not in a million years did I ever think I would be in a position where I would have to be the Xfinity cable guy helping people out of a burning building,” Fee said.
Thurmond and his company, Members Only Collective, have started a GoFundMe page to raise money to reopen their space.