Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

Angel in Blue

Posted March 15, 2007 1:39 p.m. EDT
Updated March 17, 2007 7:15 a.m. EDT

When you get a knock on your door at 4 a.m. and it's a cop, chances are it's not good news.  But for 10 people at an apartment complex in Raleigh this morning, that knock was good news; it saved their lives.

Raleigh Police Sergeant M.A. McKee was on routine patrol in the southeast part of the city when he smelled smoke.  He investigated and discovered that it was coming from a building containing three apartments on Upchurch Street.  He went door-to-door knocking, telling everyone to get out.  Unfortunately, one man died in the fire, but fortunately 10 lives were saved, including the lives of five young children.

We spoke with the families who got out today, and they talked about how thankful they were that the officer was there just at the right time and did just the right thing.  One woman credited God for putting the police officer in her neighborhood this morning.  Another woman told us how she looked for him to thank him in person after the chaos died down, but he was already gone.

We all watched in horror last week on the national news as nine children died in a house fire in the Bronx.  This Raleigh fire had the potential to be just as bad -- but it wasn't, because Sergeant. McKee was there.

Sergeant McKee humbly declined to be interviewed today, but told a police spokesman he was "just doing his job."  But in doing his job he did something few of us ever get to do and that's to make a real difference in people's lives.  So from all of the people he saved, and from the community at large, here's a great big thank you....

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.