Local first responders receive ‘rare’ Life Safety Award for saving victims in fire

KENNEWICK, Wash — Two deputy sheriffs and two firefighters with the Benton County Fire District 1 received the Life Safety Award in a ceremony Thursday afternoon, acknowledging their “hard work and bravery” from a rescue performed at a house fire in Finley last October.

Firefighters Jorge Guerrero and Danielle Gore and Deputies B. Surplus and Childers were among the first to arrive at the scene around 3 a.m. where they found a woman and her infant inside of the burning house.

According to Guerrero, that’s when their “adrenaline kicked in and they rushed inside.”

“We woke up at three in the morning so we were really tired,” Guerrero said. “But once we got on scene we went right into the action.”

Gore added that all she was thinking about was the multiple difficult scenarios that could have played out.

“What ways make it easier on us and the person if we get them out?” Gore said.

Captain Ron Fryer said they made “the whole department proud.”

“It’s thrilling. This is the kind of recognition we like to give out. We sometimes see people on the worst day of their lives and to have a positive outcome of something like that where we can do a rescue and save somebody’s life, there’s just no other feeling like it,” Fryer said.

Fryer said normally the crew must follow the “2 in, 2 out” rule where at least two firefighters are waiting outside for the two inside in case “something goes wrong.”

“But there’s an exception to that rule which is if there is a known life safety, a known rescue, we can go in and that’s just what they did,” Fryer said.

The recipients said they were “extremely honored” to receive the award.

Other officials who were at the scene and aided in the rescue are Lt. Jake Klewknecht, Daryn Lutes, and Elija Dobin.

The ceremony was held at the Fire Training Center in Kennewick where the recipients were joined by their coworkers, friends, and family.