Whether you believe in fate, faith or coincidence, you can believe in our local firefighters.
Morgan County Fire Warden Boyd Carrigan responded to a “smoke in the area” call at 6:49 a.m. on the morning of June 21. Dispatch relayed the message to Carrigan that someone had called in saying they could see a large plume of smoke just west of the freeway in the Milton area but couldn’t tell what was burning.
En route to the call, Carrigan related that he “had a good idea where the fire may be burning,” and knew exactly what dirt road to take to assess the fire. “We have had several calls in the past in the same area and I know the access road to the location well,” said Carrigan.
But for some reason, that day, Carrigan missed the turn off and ended up turning down the road just past it. “I thought to myself, ‘I should be able to get there from here.’” However, the wrong turn put him on the wrong side of the fence, but he still accomplished what was needed for the fire and thought, “No big deal.”
Working his way back to the engine, Carrigan had to walk around a cement pipe that looked to him like it was standing upright. “We see these all the time in farmers’ fields, but as I approached the pipe, something moved and it startled me,” remembered Carrigan.
He took two steps back and then slowly approached the pipe again to see what it was. “I was shocked at what I was looking at. At the bottom of this well was a beautiful one month old baby colt. I will never forget him looking up at me with those big wide eyes of his,” said Carrigan.
“My first thought was, I have to save him. As a firefighter you don’t have to think about it because you’re trained to rescue no matter who or what needs rescuing,” recalled Carrigan. He knew just what he needed to do, but needed more help to accomplish it.
Carrigan was able to get the attention of a couple of ladies working in their back yards. One of them knew the owner of the horse in question, and called him. “As with any rescue team, we pulled together and came up with a plan,” stated Carrigan.
The two good Samaritans calmed down the pony long enough for Carrigan to lower himself down into the well shaft. Then they handed him down two separate ropes, which he placed under the shivering baby colt’s front quarters and then back quarters.
“It was all I could do to get the ropes around him and back up to the ladies, it was so tight in the well,” noted Carrigan. By the time he got the ropes secure, the owner of the colt and Morgan County Fire Marshall Dave Rich had arrived with a small tractor. The ropes were then hooked to the bucket of the tractor and the terrified colt was lifted up and out of the well.
The owner of the colt advised Carrigan that he did see the little colt the day before, so he felt it was likely the colt had fallen into the well that night.
The crew finished off by covering the well with a steel grate so that there would be no future danger.
Carrigan summed the experience up saying, “I can’t help but think this colt may have never been found alive if I had not taken a wrong turn down a long dirt road to find a fire. This colt is living proof that there really is life after fire. I hope they name him Wildfire!”