On Nov. 3, Stillman Fire responded to a house fire in our district. When we arrived we encountered very heavy fire throughout the house. Fortunately the occupants of the building were able to self evacuate and knew that they should not go back in. Unfortunately three pets perished in the fire. The structure is being deemed a total loss.

With the homeowners permission I would like to share this.- Firefighters love being firefighters. We love to do our job and do it well. Just like any job, when you learn a skill over a period of many years and you have the opportunity to use that skill, you want to do it well and succeed.

Fire fighting is one of those things that even when you do your job extremely well, there is often tragedy, not that was caused by the fire fighter, but things that are beyond our control.

As we spoke with the homeowner and he thanked us, it made me really think about this job. Stillman Fire Department responded with a large number of firefighters that were all very well trained. Our neighboring departments were called, as is done with almost all fire departments when there is a building on fire.

These neighboring departments worked tirelessly to extinguish this structure fire along with us. At the end of the night we were left with the shell of a building where someone was living hours prior.

I backed out of the driveway as the last vehicle to leave and thought to myself “We were thanked by a homeowner without a house to come home to.” Everyone of those firefighters from Stillman and the surrounding departments worked very hard and yet sometimes fire still shows it’s awesome power.

We used our skills, we did everything we could within our power and a family still lost their home yet was appreciative and thankful. I can assure you, the firefighters that respond to fires like this are extremely thankful.

We love to do our job, yet we know that when we have to act, it’s because someone is having a horrible day. They WANT to be there to help. The firefighters surrounding the Stillman Valley community are some of the best people I have met in my entire life.

I for one am thankful that Stillman has the people we do, and thankful for the neighboring departments we have! I understand when someone says thank you to first responders because they are saying thank you for the job that is being done.

It’s still just makes me think every single time how fortunate we are in life. The firefighters left that incident last night to go home. The homeowner didn’t have that luxury. That is a lot to take in for firefighters sometimes.

We as firefighters are thankful beyond words that we get to do the best job in the world even if the outcome is not what we want every single time. I don’t know many firefighters that would say that they are not thankful to be given the chance to do this job!

As I woke up this morning I look at social media and I see a community rallying for a stranger. That’s what living in a community like this is all about. I will be in touch with some of those organizers throughout the day as I have been asked by several people what the needs of the homeowner are at this point. The residents are currently working with their insurance company, and are not in need of household items at this time.

Be safe, and truly thank you!

Chief Chad Hoefle

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