Fire quickly taken care of thanks to neighbors and firefighters

A fire quickly erupted Monday, July 11 on Birch Street in Hillsboro and was just as quickly put out thanks to the work of local fire departments.


Rhiannon and Daniel Schmidt were out walking with their girls in Hillsboro on Monday evening when they smelled smoke. They initially thought someone was grilling but soon realized that Valerie and Jeremy Duerksen’s garage was on fire. Acting quickly, Daniel and some other men nearby grabbed whatever they could from the garage and moved it out while someone called 911.

Within minutes, firefighters from Hillsboro, Marion, Durham and Lehigh were on scene to put out the fire at the home on Birch.The fire was quickly put out and kept from spreading to other structures.

“I think the big story is how the neighbors reported the fire and immediately went into action. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to fight the fire and when to get to safety and wait for the Fire Department. There’s a window where immediate action can greatly reduce the loss, while not putting the person taking the action in danger. Firefighters learn to do a rapid risk vs benefit analysis to determine if this window is still open. Joe Alvarez, a neighbor and firefighter did just that. He determined that taking action had a greater benefit that risk and his actions most likely saved the garage,” said City of Hillsbor Fire Chief Ben Steketee.

His men and the other firefighters then showed up and did the rest of the work.

“Thank you seems like small words for the amazing men on the Hillsboro, Leigh, Marion and Durham fire departments. I would really like to say how much we appreciated the fast work of the fire departments. And each one of the firemen. They all are amazing men for stepping up to help people in need. Your quick arrival saved our garage. Thank you,” said Valerie Duerksen.

Duerksen said that the fire started from an ember from a pervious log burn.

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