Hero passerby helps rescue family from Jamestown house fire

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Ryan Pasborg – Photo courtesy of Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office

Wyo4news Staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING — A mystery passerby is being lauded as a hero for risking his own life to help rescue a local family after their Jamestown home erupted into flames early Tuesday morning.

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A 34-year-old mother and her four young children, ages 12, 8, 6, and 4, were asleep in their house on the 1600 block of Highway 374 in Jamestown when a child’s hoverboard is believed by investigators to have somehow malfunctioned and started the home ablaze.

Ryan Pasborg, 32, of Green River, was running late for work Tuesday morning as he traveled down Highway 374 towards town when he smelled smoke and saw flames coming from a bedroom window of the home. When he did not see any emergency lights, Pasborg decided to pull into the driveway where he saw a young girl and two boys walk outside of the house. After the three children told Pasborg that their mother and 4-year-old little brother were still inside, he without hesitation entered the residence through a garage door and stepped into the kitchen.

Pasborg told authorities that he could not see anything inside because of heavy smoke, so he crawled on his hands and knees on the floor several feet into the kitchen before he bumped into the small child. He immediately grabbed the boy around the waist, picked him up, and carried him outside.

With a windchill temperature well below zero, Pasborg quickly put all four children in his truck to keep them warm before entering the burning home a second time, this time crawling through the kitchen deeper into the house in search of the children’s missing mother.

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Moments later, Pasborg found the woman lying on the floor, badly burned and struggling to breathe. After dragging her outside, he noticed that she was unresponsive and no longer breathing, so he began performing lifesaving measures until she suddenly took a gasp of air and sat up.

Pasborg then drove the family away from the raging fire to the end of the driveway near the highway and awaited the arrival of emergency first responders. According to sheriff’s office spokesperson, Deputy Jason Mower, Pasborg later took it upon himself to purchase several hundred dollars worth of clothing and necessities and personally delivered them to the family at their grandmother’s house.

Mower could not recall ever witnessing such courage and selflessness as that displayed by Pasborg during this life-or-death tragedy.

“You know, as a police officer, most of the stories I remember involve bystanders helping first responders in difficult situations. I think this is the first time in nearly 15 years of law enforcement that I’ve ever heard of a total stranger truly going above and beyond in a way and in a situation that many wouldn’t have dared to face,” Mower said.

Sheriff John Grossnickle added, “Not only is it a blessing in its own right that Mr. Pasborg was in the right place at the right time, but his willingness without a second thought to risk his own life to help save this family was the difference between life and death for this young mother and her child; he gave them a fighting chance.”

“There are no words to adequately express the magnitude of Ryan’s bravery other than he is a perfect example of what it means to be a real hero,” Grossnickle continued. “His actions speak volumes about the true content of his character, and people like Ryan are a testament to the overwhelming power and strength of community that we are so fortunate to share with one another as friends and neighbors here in Sweetwater County.”

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