NAMPA — Nampa city officials and representatives of the Nampa Fire Department gathered Tuesday morning to honor citizens who helped protect residents from a fire that started on the outside of Ashley Manor on May 10.
“While the fire began outside Ashley Manor, the flames were quickly becoming a significant risk to the facility and residents. Several citizens aided in vacating the facility before first responders arrived on scene,” said Nampa City spokeswoman Amy Bowman.
Some fifteen community members assisted the Ashley Manor residents to ensure their safety. Citizens identified and honored at the ceremony were Chuck Harris, Sara Harris, Nampa City Councilman Rick Hogaboam, Juan Ibarra and Sonia Ibarra. They shared their stories from that day at the ceremony.
Juan Ibarra and his daughter, Sonia, were driving by when Juan smelled something burning -- and noticed smoke coming from Ashley Manor Memory Care.
He pulled over and asked his daughter to call 9-1-1.
“Juan saw the fence on fire and that the exterior of the building was beginning to burn. He immediately started knocking on doors. The staff or residents inside were not aware a fire had started on the exterior of their facility, and that they were in immediate danger. Juan and others attempted to extinguish the flames with water from the kitchen and bathrooms -- using anything they could find -- and then helped evacuate occupants when they could not put the fire out,” Bowman explained.
Councilman Hogaboam was driving home from work when he saw the smoke. He pulled over in time to help evacuate residents from the building –- many of whom were in wheelchairs and had oxygen masks. “I’m glad I got to witness firsthand the compassion and action of our citizens and the professionalism and care of our firefighters and first responders. These are everyday heroes helping save lives, and it’s easy to take all this for granted, but we live in a special community, and we value human life,” he stated.
Chuck and Sara Harris also stopped to help. Chuck commented on the number of people from the community who tended to the residents as they waited outside as the Nampa Fire Department extinguished the fire. Harris said, “At least fifteen people stopped and just sat one-on-one with every single person; there were a lot of people who did a lot of things.”
Nampa Fire Chief Kirk Carpenter presented the citizens with a certificate and a challenge coin from the Fire Department in recognition of their bravery. Carpenter shared about the history and significance of the challenge coins. “As firefighters, we carry the challenge coin both in tradition as well as for luck. It represents the pride we have in our organizations, units, as well as the Fire Service. We want to present one to you for placing others before yourself, risking your own safety in efforts to help another. We are thankful for your actions that day, and that people like you are a part of our community!” he said.
The Nampa Fire Department would like to honor all those community members who assisted in the rescue efforts -- and encourages residents who have not been identified yet to please step forward so that city officials may recognize their heroic efforts by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling thanked each of the residents for their selfless service to the community. “It was a privilege to shake the hands of the men and women in our community who acted bravely and aided in the rescue efforts. I hope their example inspires others in our community to also be good Samaritans and fearlessly lend a helping hand to others in need,” the Mayor said.
(photo courtesy: City of Nampa)