South East Thurston Fire Authority Fire Commissioner’s Meeting
March 10, 2015 – 7pm
Seconds Do Count!
Horst’s House Burning to the Ground
Jake Horst’s house continuing to smolder after burning through the night.
Photo used with permission by Michael Wager, Publisher, Nisqually Valley News.
Chief Mark King (left) presents Lee McGill (center) the Citizen Life Saving Award for saving the life of his neighbor Jacob “Jake” Horst (right) and his dog Sadie. Photo credit: Washington Media Services.
Lee McGill Receives Citizen Life Saving Award for his heroic acts saving his neighbor, Vernon Jacob “Jake” Horst, in a house fire.
During the evening of February 3, 2015, Lee McGill noticed that his neighbor Jake Horst’s house was on fire. In a true act of bravery and selflessness, McGill broke Horst’s bedroom window and climbed in the burning house. The smoke was so intense that McGill could hardly breathe or see. He managed to find Sadie first, Horst’s loyal small black speckled dog. After passing the dog to safety, there was an explosion inside the living room, which forced another door open. It was then that McGill saw the faint outline of Horst’s legs as he lay unconscious on the floor.
McGill grabbed Horst and hoisted him through the broken window to the waiting arms of Thurston County Deputy Sheriff Sean Chatterton. With seconds to spare, McGill climbed out through the bedroom window just as the entire room exploded into flames.
Horst was treated at the scene by South East Thurston Fire Authority EMT’s and Paramedics receiving a life-saving tracheotomy. He was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he spent three weeks. Horst has since made a full recovery, except for a slight cough and sore throat.
The fire was so intense, it took nearly three hours to bring the fire under control. An estimated 100,000 gallons of water were used. Even so, the house continued to smolder through the night. McGill returned to the house the next morning to help responders remove the house’s metal roof using Horst’s backhoe. Only then were fire fighters able to put out the remaining hot spots. Units from S.E. Thurston Fire Authority, Lacey Fire District 3, Bald Hills Fire District 17, East Olympia Fire District 6, and Tenino Fire Department responded with six engines and five tenders along with two paramedic units.