Off-duty fire captain rescues man from burning home

By 
Sam Klomhaus — Enterprise Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
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Enterprise photo by Sam Klomhaus

A fire that started Sunday morning destroyed this home at 424 S Ninth St.

An off-duty Livingston Fire and Rescue captain rescued a Livingston man from a house fire Sunday, according to LFR Chief Ken MacInnes. 

The fire eventually destroyed the house, located at 424 S Ninth St.

Capt. Torsten Prahl, who happened to be driving by, noticed a fire burning in the house’s entryway at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday, MacInnes said.

Prahl, seeing vehicles parked in the driveway, pounded on the doors and windows of the home, MacInnes said, before kicking in the door and waking up the house’s occupant, who was asleep.

Barbara Britt, who lives nearby, said a small crowd of neighbors had gathered before Prahl’s arrival on the scene, and had been knocking on doors and windows to get the occupant’s attention.

Prahl showed up, removed the front door and yelled inside for the occupant to get out, Britt said.

Prahl replaced the door after getting the occupant out.

The occupant was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and released, MacInnes said.

MacInnes said the fire was believed to be out Sunday, and crews checked on the house several times after putting out the original fire.

However, LFR crews returned to the scene after getting a call at about 2:30 a.m. Monday that the roof had collapsed and flames were visible.

The fire was originally caused by electricity, MacInnes said, and must have worked its way into one of several layers of roofing discovered after the fact, where it smoldered until high winds kicked it up Sunday night and early Monday morning.

MacInnes said a total of about 12 firefighters, including firefighters from the Park County Rural Fire District, responded to the incident.

There were no other injuries reported, MacInnes said. The house was a total loss.

Neither Britt nor MacInnes was sure of the occupant’s name.

“I’m truly glad (Prahl) happened to be driving by at the time and was able to affect the rescue,” MacInnes said. “I’m not sure what the outcome would have been otherwise.”