Gratitude the main message after volunteer firefighters save homes in Lancaster County
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A stark line burned into the grass less than 100 yards from the Reehl family home in Southwest Lancaster County shows how close Sunday’s fires came to razing the family of four’s home, with Kayla and Micah Reehl telling 10/11 NOW, if it weren’t for volunteers, it likely would be a very different story.
‘It’s insane what those guys did,” Micah said. “It’s humbling.”
The couple said they began Sunday celebrating their son’s birthday, but that fun quickly evolved into panic when the air near 68th and Pella Road filled with smoke.
“Fire crews pulled in and it was 20 minutes ‘get out get out get out’,” Micah said. “‘Grab your things and go.’ We pulled out and the cavalry pulled in.”
Kayla said volunteer firefighters camped out at the house all night to keep the flames away. The couple shared a beer with a few of them in the much-welcomed rain Monday afternoon, including Dustin McGee, who was fighting fire at the home into the early hours of the morning.
“We were just trying to knock it down, keep it away from structures so people’s homes didn’t go,” McGee said. “This is the worst fire I’ve seen.”
McGee said until he drove into the Reehl’s driveway Monday, he didn’t know how the home fared.
“It was dark you didn’t really know but I was pretty happy it didn’t get as close as it could have,” McGee said.
The Reehl family lost nothing, save for a few deer cameras out in their fields, leaving them feeling nothing but gratitude.
“It’s emotional knowing that just gives you goosebumps that there are so many good people out there in our community that work together,” Kayla said.
They’re not the only family counting their blessings after the fires.
Dwayne Pospisil, a farmer who lives near Southwest 86th Street and Princeton Road, near Olive Creek Lake, said he too is thanking volunteer firefighters and farmers who helped ensure his family, his cows and his home were safe.
“We saved a lot,” Pospisil said. “Everybody saved a lot.”
Pospisil said firefighters urged him to evacuate from his home, but he stayed to protect it from the flames by turning on irrigation pivots and spraying the ground with water. He said it was hard to fight the flames.
“It was moving fast and it was whipping in circles and just jumping everywhere,” Pospisil said. “There was a guy here wetting the ground and that’s about the only thing that didn’t burn, it just jumped over it. The wind was unbelievable.”
So far, Pospisil knows he lost an outbuilding with an antique trailer, equipment and feed for his cows, but it could have been a lot worse.
“They risked everything and neighbors and friends and even not neighbors came to help I heard,” Pospisil said. “I really appreciate it.”
McGee said volunteer firefighters don’t give that sacrifice a second thought.
“I just enjoy it,” McGee said. “I enjoy helping the community.”
Even when it’s scary, McGee said he’d don his gear and go into the flames again in a heartbeat.
“We have everything, all the buildings were saved, just look at it all,” Micah said. “It’s because of those volunteers, they’re the reason it’s still here.”
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