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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Neighbor helps save woman trapped in house fire

Nov 01, 2022 07:12PM ● By Cassie Goff

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

Jason Gottfredson was recognized by UFA Fire Chief Dominic Burchett with a fire chief coin on Oct. 4 for his efforts assisting in response to a house fire.

“Every so often we have someone in our community who stands out and rises to the call,” said UFA Assistant Chief Riley Pilgrim.

On July 18, Gottfredson saw a plume of smoke billowing from his neighbors’ home. As he was walking toward the scene, someone asked if there was someone still inside and it inspired a sense of urgency within him.

“Around the back, it was blazing. The front door was locked. The side door was locked,” recalled Gottfredson.

Gottfredson circled around the opposite side of the building. Finding his neighbor trapped inside, Gottfredson pulled an AC unit from the wall to establish communication with her and to let her know the fire department was on the way.

Arriving on scene, Captain Steve Halligan and his crew knew they were approaching a significant house fire with a known victim trapped inside. Gottfredson quickly provided information about where the victim was.

“The information Gottfredson shared about where she was potentially saved her life,” Burchett said.

As he watched the scene unfold, he realized the firefighters could use some additional labor pulling the fire hose lines and he quickly jumped in to help.

“With a three-handed engine, the captain is busy doing a walk around and providing scene safety. The firefighter or paramedic is pulling the hose line to start attacking the fire and the engineer is pulling the hose line to the hydrant to start pumping the fire,” Burchett said.

Alongside a firefighter, Gottfredson provided assistance getting through the locked front door by using an ax and a Halligan bar.

“It’s generally our job to break down doors and get in,” chuckled Burchett. “The assistance he provided our crew saved seconds—and in these situations, seconds really matter.” 

Gottfredson mentioned how grateful he was to everyone on scene for getting the woman safe and taken care of.

“Some of the neighbors not only helped in the moment, but with after care. Insurance doesn’t cover anything. They were thinking about what she needs, not only physically but psychologically,” Gottfredson said.

“The fact that you did something to help save somebody’s life…I can’t thank you enough,” said Cottonwood Heights Mayor Mike Weichers. “Nobody would have noticed if you didn’t do anything. Thank you for being an example to others.”