By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Ryan Pasborg did not even stop to think about the danger he faced when he ran into a burning house last week.
“As a dad myself and a volunteer firefighter, I had to make a split-second decision,” Pasborg told Cowboy State Daily on Saturday. “I know the decision I made could have resulted in something bad happening to me, but at the same time, I’ve also got three little kids looking at me, hoping I was there to do something.”
On Feb. 1, Pasborg saved a woman and her 4-year-old son from a burning house in James Town in rural Sweetwater County, not far from his hometown of Green River. The mother is in stable condition in the hospital, and the little boy is also recovering well.
Three other children, ages 12, 8 and 6, made it out of the house unharmed.
Pasborg was actually running late for work when he saw the flames and smoke pouring out of the house. He pulled into the driveway, saw the three older children fleeing the house and asked them if anyone else was inside.
When they told him their mother and brother were inside, he ran in through a kitchen door to help. 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. Then he entered the house a second time, again crawling through the home in search of the children’s mother.
He found her lying on the floor, badly burned and struggling to breathe. After dragging her outside, Pasborg noticed the woman was not breathing, so he performed lifesaving measures until she took a breath and sat up.
Pasborg said that while he was giving CPR to the mother, he was also on speakerphone with 911, directing emergency services to the house.
Once EMS arrived on scene, Pasborg was directed to comfort the 4-year-old in the ambulance before he and his mother were taken to Sweetwater County Memorial Hospital.
“He was very shaken up,” Pasborg said. “He couldn’t hardly talk, so I tried to change the subject, ask him when his birthday was and just treated him like he was my own kid. That calmed him down some.”
By the time the boy and his mother were taken to the hospital, the children’s grandmother arrived and Pasborg took the family to her house, which was directly behind the burned home.
Pasborg then went home, but soon got a call from the grandmother, asking if any of his three children might have any clothes to spare.
Along with his sister-in-law, Miranda Martinez, and fiancee, Alexandria Price, Pasborg collected clothing from their children and then went on to collect money for the family.
Price and Pasborg then headed to Walmart to buy new clothes for four children who had just lost everything. After spending several hundred dollars on clothes, Pasborg delivered the goods to the three oldest children and their grandmother.
“As I’ve told everybody, I just did what I would hope somebody else would do for me in the same situation,” Pasborg said. “I actually got a call from the dad/husband on Friday night, and he told me he loved me, that if it wasn’t for me, those two wouldn’t be here. They have a long road to recovery, but without me, there wouldn’t even be that road.”
Pasborg said the family’s patriarch also told him that he expects to see the Pasborg family at next Thanksgiving.
“I hope that by telling my story, somebody in my shoes might do the same thing,” he said. “Well, I wouldn’t ask anybody else to run into a burning building. But if you see somebody in need, help them. Hold the door open. Take a lady’s groceries to her car. If you see someone on the side of the road with a flat tire, pull over. Stop and help people.”