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Deputies, fire chiefs and citizen awarded for saving man in burning home

Local

RIGBY — Three Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies and two Central Fire District chiefs, including a citizen, were recognized for their heroic acts Thursday after saving a man’s life during a house fire in April.

Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson presented life-saving medals to Battalion Chief Jim Kelly, EMS Chief Jared Giannini, Cpl. Dustin Mathie, Deputy Randy McRae and K9 Cpl. Andrew Cleverly.

“Upon arrival, without hesitation, or regard for their own safety, these first responders entered the building that was filled with smoke and fire, carrying out the individual to safety and saving his life,” said Sheriff Steve Anderson. “It is with great pride that we can acknowledge these first responders for their brave and selfless acts. I’d like to say that bravery is not the absence of fear but taking action in the face of fear.”

The fire happened on April 27 on 400 North in Rigby. The 65-year-old homeowner is a disabled man and was the only person inside at the time.

RELATED: Man rescued from house fire in Rigby

“As we were going in, all I remember was thinking back on a previous incident I had been on and I thought, ‘Oh, it won’t be too bad. We’ll get him out.’ But the smoke was so black and thick that it just took our breath away instantly,” Cleverly told EastIdahonews.com. “You try to ignore it but as you breathe it in, it just incapacitates you but you know that you just have to keep moving.”

Cleverly said he felt honored to receive the award with his colleagues.

“It’s a great feeling because you get into the job and I want to help people. You do as much as you can to help people. To be able to be alongside these guys and to have done something like this is absolutely incredible. It’s an amazing feeling. It makes everything worth it,” Cleverly said.

Andrews award
The medal K9 Cpl. Andrew Cleverly received. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com

A citizen was also honored and recognized by Central Fire District Chief Carl Anderson with a “Life Save” award. Aubree Ours was recognized for her courage and bravery in assisting in the rescue of the man.

Ours works with Meals on Wheels and had come to deliver the homeowner’s food. She heard him calling for help as she knocked on the door and she called 911. She entered the house and saw him collapsed on the living room floor. She tried helping him out of the house but was unable to. That’s when the five responders came and helped her and the homeowner.

“She stuck right with him and made the right call. She helped the responders know where he was and what his condition was and the fact that he needed to get out of this burning building,” said Chief Anderson. “Aubree was a trooper. She was so caring and thoughtful.”

Chief Anderson said the home was a total loss and they found the cause of the fire to be an electrical problem after finding an overloaded surge protector. The homeowner is okay.

The five responders entered the home prior to any fire equipment arriving. Those involved in the rescue and fighting the fire were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

Chief Anderson said he is proud of everyone involved.

“It does feel good to recognize people for this. Talking to these guys, it’s like, ‘Really?’ We are just doing our job.’ That’s how we feel. It is part of our job, but it is special,” said Chief Anderson.

April 27 fire
The fire that happened on April 27, 2022. | Courtesy Chief Carl Anderson
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