Hageman Honors Green River Hero Who Saved Lives In House Fire

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman on Friday recognized Green River hero Ryan Pasborg who risked his life by running into a burning house to save the life of a mother and her son. Last month, Pasborg received the nation's highest civilian award for heroism.

Jimmy Orr

January 12, 20243 min read

Mix Collage 12 Jan 2024 10 37 AM 4803
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

After receiving the nation’s highest civilian award for heroism last month, Green River resident Ryan Pasborg was honored on the floor of the U.S. House on Friday.

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman delivered a floor speech recognizing him for saving the lives of a woman and her 4-year-old son, who were both trapped inside a burning house on a sub-zero morning in 2022.

“Without hesitation and at great risk to himself, Ryan rushed into the burning home and managed to rescue both their younger brother and mother for whom he later administered CPR all while on the phone with 911,” Hageman said.

Pasborg, who was awarded the Carnegie Medal in December for his actions, was on his way to work when he spotted three children running from the burning house.

He stopped his car and asked them if anyone else was still inside. 

Ran Inside Burning House

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 because of 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.

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No Lives Lost

“No lives were lost that day due to Ryan’s selfless actions and unparalleled courage,” Hageman said.

“The courage, compassion and integrity he exhibited are simply a part of who he is, each and every day,” she continued. “I urge all my colleagues to join me in recognizing Mr. Ryan Pasborg for his valor and commitment to the safety of his fellow Wyomingites.”

Extraordinary Heroism

Representatives of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission told Cowboy State Daily last month that the award is given for heroism “that we don’t see everyday.”

“It is an award that represents the best of humanity and we love to recognize people who demonstrate that,” said Jewels Phraner, a spokesperson for the organization.

It was determined that 77% of the woman’s body had been burned and the boy’s legs, feet and knees also were severely burned. It was only because of Pasborg that they lived.

"Mind Blowing"

Reached on Friday morning about Hageman's floor speech, Pasborg said he was unaware that she was going to do that and found it "hard to believe."

"It's mind blowing," Pasborg said. "Never in my mind did I think that any of this would happen."

"I just want to say thank you to Rep. Hageman for her kind words. It's an absolute honor and it's amazing," he said.

Jimmy Orr can be reached at jimmy@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.