Two newspaper carriers came to the aid of their customers during the wee hours this week, alerting emergency responders to a man having a breathing attack and to a home with a smoky furnace.

The Kennebec Journal carriers both said they just happened to be there at the right time when delivering papers on their routes.

Around 4 a.m. Monday in Augusta, carrier Charles Tisdale Jr. arrived at a residence on Eastern Avenue and heard a fire alarm sounding as he put a paper through a mail slot. Tisdale went back to his car, got a flashlight, and called the fire department. Nobody was home as Tisdale looked around, and a neighbor with a key soon came over to let firefighters inside.

It turned out the home’s furnace had been malfunctioning and smoke had set off the fire alarm.

“It was unusual, but I just wanted to make sure my customers are taken care of,” said Tisdale, who’s had the paper route since January.

Homeowner Linda McMullen was out of state at the time and said she was relieved to hear that Tisdale had come upon on the situation before a fire started.

“He was very alert to realize that,” she said. “It’s really important for people to have working smoke detectors, because if that hadn’t gone off, it would have been a lot of worse.”

Around 4:30 a.m. Friday, carrier Vincent Bryant pulled into the driveway of a customer on Coopers Mills Road in Windsor. Bryant put the newspaper on the deck, as usual, and as he backed his car out of the driveway, he noticed the porch lights were blinking.

Then he heard a man yell for help.

Bryant went inside and found William Sproul at the kitchen table, where he was having trouble breathing. Sproul, 66, asked for 911 through labored breaths.

“He came to deliver the paper and I had a breathing attack, so I flipped the light and motioned him to come in and call 911,” Sproul said. “He was a big help.”

An ambulance arrived and took Sproul to the emergency department at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, where he recovered and was released.

Bryant said he rarely sees anyone while delivering papers in the early morning, so the lights caught his attention.

“I was just thankful I was there,” he said. “It’s good news.”