MARTINEZ -- Cyndi Bay isn't sure why she deviated from her normal newspaper delivery route on Kendall Court on Wednesday morning.
"It was just totally out of character," she said later, musing about her spur decision to turn the opposite way down the cul-de-sac on her 6 a.m. route.
Thanks to the chance deviation, Bay arrived at a Kendall Court home just after a downed power line had ignited the structure, called 911 and helped the homeowner corral her horses safely in a stable away from the blaze.
"It was kind of God's way of putting me there so we could connect with each other," Bay said Wednesday afternoon.
No one was injured in the fire, but the home was destroyed.
The power line leading to the house fell on the building and was still energized, PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said. Though not as powerful as the lines that run along power poles, the line was still dangerous and was not cut off until about 7:15 a.m., Contra Costa Fire Inspector Lisa Martinez said.
In the meantime, firefighters had to work in "defensive mode," fighting the fire as it spread outside but unable to get close enough to put out the indoor flames, Martinez said.
Bay was working the delivery route for the Bay Area Newspaper Group, which publishes this paper, in place of the regular carrier, who has been on vacation.
"As soon as I pulled up (to the gate,) there was an explosion," she said. "I started honking, because I didn't
She dialed 911, but was unable to give the dispatcher an exact address.
As Bay was connected to the fire department, a resident came out of the house, yelling that she couldn't get through to 911 on her cell phone. Bay handed over her phone so the resident could tell the dispatcher the correct address.
Once firefighters were on the way, Bay asked the homeowner if there was anything she could do to help. The woman was concerned about her horses, who were frightened by the fire, so the pair rounded them up and put them in the stable.
"We could hear glass blowing up and (one of the horses) just went crazy," said Bay, 49, of Martinez.
The homeowner did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.
As the blaze was contained, fire engines blocked Bay's car in the driveway, keeping her from completing her deliveries until after the fire was out, she said.
"I finally finished the route about 9:50," she said. "But I talked to my supervisor, and we only got three (complaint) calls from that route.
"Hopefully, people will understand."