By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Green River man risked his life Tuesday to save a woman and her youngest child from a burning house in west of Green River and is being hailed as a hero for his actions.
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Mower told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that in nearly 15 years of working in law enforcement, Ryan Pasborg’s selfless act of heroism is one of the most incredible he’s ever seen.
“I think his takeaway, what gives him comfort, is that he did the right thing,” Mower said. “Those three children who made it out of the house safely are always going to remember him as the man who saved their little brother and mom.”
Pasborg was running late for work as he drove past a home on Highway 374 in James Town in rural Sweetwater County around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday and saw smoke and flames coming from a bedroom window.
When he did not see any emergency lights, Pasborg pulled into the driveway of the home and saw three children, ages 12, 8 and 6, walk outside. They told him their mother and 4-year-old brother were still inside, and Pasborg entered the home’s kitchen through the garage door.
He could not see much inside due to the heavy smoke, so he crawled on his hands and knees through the kitchen until he bumped into the young child. He grabbed the boy around the waist and took him outside.
Since the wind chill was below 0, Pasborg put the four children into his truck to keep them warm. He entered the house a second time, again crawling through the home in search of the children’s mother.
She was found lying on the floor, badly burned and struggling to breathe. After dragging her outside, Pasborg noticed the woman was unresponsive and not breathing, so he began performing lifesaving measures until she took a breath and sat up.
Pasborg then drove the family away from the fire to the end of their driveway, where they waited until emergency services arrived about eight minutes after Pasborg called for help.
The three children who were out of the home when Pasborg arrived are now staying with their grandmother. The mother and child in the fire are still in the hospital.
“Last we were aware, the mom’s fighting for her life, she’s still in critical condition,” Mower said. “But, no matter what happens, he was the difference between life and death. He gave the family a fighting chance. Had he not gone into the house, that chance probably wouldn’t have been provided for that mom and little boy.”
Mower said investigators believe one of the children’s hoverboards malfunctioned and caught fire, which spread through the house.
“Whether it was on the charger too long and something happened, I don’t know,” he said. “This is why when we talk about fire safety in Wyoming, one of the big things we talk about is leaving space heaters unattended. I just think it’s important people know that fire investigators determined the hoverboard as the potential cause of the fire.”
But it was not just the fact that Pasborg ran into a burning building to help people that impressed Mower and the rest of the sheriff’s office.
It was the fact that after Pasborg got home from work on Tuesday, he showered, changed his clothes — and began collecting money for the displaced family from among some of his family members. He went and spoke with the grandmother, got the children’s clothing and shoe sizes and went shopping.
“I believe he bought an entire carload of clothing and necessities and then he went to grandma’s house to deliver it to the family,” Mower said. “He said to me that’s what made all of this worthwhile. He was sitting in grandma’s house, sorting through the clothes and the kids were just hugging and thanking him for helping them.”