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F.E. Warren firefighters rescue fallen hiker

(courtesy photo)

(courtesy photo)


Everything was quiet. A second pot of coffee was brewing for the day, but by 10 a.m. the alarm was blaring. A man had fallen down a cliff in Curt Gowdy and it was up to the firefighters to rescue him.

F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, is typically a quiet base when it comes to emergency calls, but the Fire Department is constantly training to learn new skills to meet the needs in Wyoming’s environment.

And, on June 30, 2018, the newest training was needed.

Joshua Van Black, District 8 Fire Chief, lead the most recent training that involved various agencies, including F.E. Warren Fire Department, Cheyenne City Fire, Laramie District 2 and 8, Wyoming State Forestry, and Wyoming State Parks.

The training focused on rescues in the back country of Curt Gowdy,” said Black. “The main goal of the training was to learn the terrain and simulated over the ledge rescues.”

Not all firefighters on base were able to participate, but there are plans to conduct the training each spring before the big tourist season begins.

Van Black added that due to weather, lifeflight training didn’t happen during the spring event, but it will hopefully be included in all future plans.

The training came into play Saturday when dispatch called Station 2 on F.E. Warren.

“Three of us loaded up and drove out to the park in response to a call we received,” said Staff Sgt. Ariel Tejada, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. “A gentleman fell down a 20-foot cliff while hiking. Puncturing his thigh and fracturing a wrist.”

Unfortunately, due to the remote nature, communication was minimal, and the firefighters did not know the full extent of the situation.

F.E. Warren showed up on the scene in full gear, extra rope in hand, and expectations of putting their recent training to the test.

“When we arrived, park services already had the guy up on the trail,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Mathis, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. “The original call came in with injuries more serious than that occurred. Although severe, the injuries were stabilized.”

The base firefighters were the man power needed to get the injured back to vehicle access.

Rain began to drizzle as the responders, stretcher in tow, trekked the mile-and-a-half back.

“The rain began about 10 minutes into our hike back,” said Tejada. “It was definitely welcome and made the trip back easier.”

Upon arrival to the road, the injured man was in good spirits, according to the firefighters that responded to the call.

Thankfully the response went on without a hitch, and most of the responders attended the spring training.

“The training was invaluable to the call that happened Saturday,” said Van Black.

Although the spring training is over, it will continue for the firefighters on F.E. Warren, and they will continue to work to be mission ready across Wyoming.