Dear Editor,

During the late evening hours of Friday, March 16, my Wife and I were awakened by the sight of emergency lights flashing through our bedroom windows. This occurred about 11:45 p.m. We kind of live off the beaten path so we were stunned to be awaken in such a manner.

I immediately opened my curtains and to my astonishment, elements of the Caliente Fire Department were already in the process of battling a fire on my property. My Wife and I were instantly in shock at the scene.

The picture outside my window was that of both of my 10x10” goat/sheep shelters ablaze, with flames reaching 20 feet above the roofline. Extremely high winds that night were also igniting the adjacent vegetation and threatening an all-out brush fire.

We quickly dressed and rushed out into the cold, stormy night only to find more emergency vehicles approaching to help. I was in such shock that I couldn’t tell you who got their first, but by the end of the evening there were three vehicles from the Caliente Fire Department, two from Panaca, and a Sheriff Deputy’s patrol car. All and all, it looked like we had two thirds of the County’s first responders battling our fire.

The first thing that stuck out in my mind that evening was how professional this group of volunteers performed. They knew their business and had set us at ease immediately upon contact with them. They were gentle, caring, and non-condemning, even though it was apparent that one of the heat lamps for the new baby kids and lambs had caused the fire.

As sad as it was to lose our two shelters, we were highly blessed not to lose any of our livestock. All 11 adult goats and sheep were fine, and none of our 8 lambs and kids were harmed in the fire.

I’m somewhat embarrassed to say it, but out of sheer shock and overwhelming emotions that night, I never properly thanked those men for their service to my family. Even though they were not able to save our shelters, they prevented what would have been a terrible brush fire from spreading, thus my reason for this letter to the editor.

To all those who responded to the fire that night, we thank you for your service. May God bless you for your kindness to our family.

Gratefully submitted,

Bob McCleary

Indian Ridge Resident