Employee Hero: Justin Lentz Extinguishes Residential Garage Fire | Atmos Energy
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Employee Hero: Justin Lentz Extinguishes Residential Garage Fire

March 24, 2017

TAHOKA, Texas — Recently answering a residential leak call, Service Technician Justin Lentz performed a pressure test in the backyard. “The gauge just dropped,” he said. “The service line from the house to the meter was badly deteriorated. The pipe was more than 50 years old.”

While checking the meter, Lentz smelled smoke. He thought someone was burning a fire in their fireplace. This was, after all, Dec. 22. Yet the odor didn’t smell like chimney smoke but more like plastic or electrical fumes.

He knocked on the front door to tell the customer the gas line pressure registered zero. No one answered, so he walked to the side of the house to knock on that door. There, flames were shooting up the side of the garage, which is a few feet away from the house.

“I knocked on the side door and the lady popped her head out. I said, ‘You have a fire, you have a fire!’ I ran to the alley to get my fire extinguisher. Back in the garage, I pulled the trigger and that fire was out in an instant. That was the first time I had ever used a fire extinguisher on an actual fire. I have plenty of training with one but this was the real deal.”

Liz Tew and Justin Lentz

“The tire on my van kept going flat,” said the customer, Liz Tew. “Since I knew I would have to air the tire up in an hour, I left the compressor plugged in. My husband said it must have overheated, causing it to catch fire.”

Tew added that she was thankful Lentz arrived when he did. “We have gasoline cans on the shelf above the compressor and a 5-quart jug of oil next to it.The house was built in 1924 and is all wood. The fire would have jumped from the garage to the house before we could have caught it. This was definitely a God thing. We are extremely thankful Mr. Lentz happened to be here, not only to put out the fire, but he said there were multiple leaks in our backyard pipe.” “If not for Mr. Lentz’s quick actions, our garage and house would have been lost,” said her husband Jerry Tew. “This brave young man is a hero in my family’s eyes.”