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SSgt. Thomas Carter, 931st Maintenance Squadron crew chief, tightens a bolt as part of an inspection, Jan. 11, 2016, at McConnell AFB, Kan. Air Force photo by TSgt. Abigail Klein.

​A McConnell AFB, Kan., crew chief is being credited with saving eight people when a fire broke out in his apartment complex last month. SSgt. Thomas Carter, a 931st Maintenance Squadron crew chief and traditional Reservist, said had just been home for a couple hours when he heard a loud pop and his fire alarm go off. Carter smelled smoke, and saw a cloud of smoke coming out of his neighbor’s apartment, according to an Air Force Reserve Command release.  “There’s five kids that live in my building,” Carter said. “That was the main thing on my mind at the time.” Carter ran door to door in the four-apartment building, alerting residents. He found the residents of the burning apartment in another unit downstairs, helped them grab what they could and carried children to safety. Once outside, Carter realized a woman who lived in a basement apartment was missing, and ran back into the complex to get her. The whole incident lasted just five minutes. “This guy would literally give you the shirt off his back if he could,” said MSgt. Greg Mitchell, the aero-repair supervisor in Carter’s unit. “I wasn’t surprised to learn about his actions ... because of this, and his ability to always think outside the box.”