SUBLETTE — An open house and recruitment event at the Sublette Fire Department honored two local heroes, and offered a glimpse into how the department handles a car accident with entrapment, ending in a surprise marriage proposal.
The Sublette Fire Department’s open house was held on Sunday afternoon. The warm spring weather brought out a large crowd to the fire department. The event started at 2 p.m. with a presentation by Sublette Fire Chief Kevin Schultz.
Schultz said the fire department is at a crossroads like every other department in our area, and in the state. He added that Sublette has needs for people willing to step up and volunteer with the department. He said the department has 27 members currently and utilizes the help of neighboring communities with mutual aid when a call comes in. But, Schultz said, sometimes there is no one there to answer the call.
Schultz told the crowd on Sunday, March 14, the department got a call for a dumpster fire at Woodhaven Lakes. While enroute to the campground, the department received a call of a house fire with a burn victim in Sublette. Prior to arrival of the first engine company, Sublette residents and neighbors, Curtis Ryan Kessel and Nick Wilson saw a young child in a window on the second story of the house. As they approached the house, the father was exiting the residence with another child so Kessel and Wilson jumped into action. Kessel scaled the back fence and climbed to the second story window, grabbed the child by the ankle and lowered the child down to Wilson, saving the child’s life before the window was enveloped in smoke and flames.
A few minutes later, the first engine company arrived with heavy fire on the first and second story. Quick hose deployment and aggressive attack contained the fire to the structure of origin. The father was transported by Sublette EMS for burns and the children were transported by Amboy EMS for smoke inhalation and evaluation
Schultz said two young gentleman stepped up and made a difference. He added that they were also assisted by Cody Shaw, Bubba Ellis and Matthew Stephenitch. Adding without these men, the Sublette house fire may have had a different ending.
Schultz presented Kessel and Wilson with plaques in appreciation.
After the presentation, Nick Dinges of the Sublette Fire Department welcome everyone outside for a demonstration of what happens when the department has a call of an accident with a victim trapped. Dinges described the steps the fire department personnel were taking to remove the entrapped victim, played by fire fighter Matt Stephenitch, from the vehicle.
Dinges said last year, the department received 200 calls, and the call volume seems to be increasing each year.
After the demonstration, Dinges talked about the families of fire department and how multi-generations of family members have volunteered to protect the community. One of the families is the Erbes. He brought up Bryce Erbes to say a few words. Erbes took the opportunity to surprise his girlfriend Ashley Fisher by getting down on one knee and asking her to marry him. She said yes.