Mid March offered some unusual challenges for our fire district. A one-car non-injury accident during a snowstorm on March 16th and an incident involving two vehicles mired in mud while en route to Cripple Creek on March 21st left 23 individuals stranded in Guffey. When the usual emergency care providers, Red Cross and the County Emergency Offices, refused to provide aid, it fell upon our fire district to house and feed these stranded travelers overnight in Guffey.
The March 16th snow storm accident left 8 Taiwanese college students stranded. District volunteers, who had responded to the accident, transported them to the home of Dr. Amy Mason, a board member, who volunteered to house and feed them (see photo). The next day, Mary Calanni transported four of them to their Keystone destination and the other four went to Colorado Springs in a second undamaged vehicle to obtain a replacement vehicle allowing them to continue with their ski vacation.
The March 21st incident involved two vehicles which became mired in mud on Greta Valley Road when they lost their way to Cripple Creek. This incident left 15 men, women and children stranded. After futile attempts to get assistance from other emergency service providers, they were taken to the Guffey Community Center, where they spent the night. Thanks to Rita Mick who opened her restaurant's kitchen and cooked food for them and the District Auxiliary who paid for the food, they spent a reasonably comfortable night in Guffey.
And thanks to our volunteers who spent up to 10 continuous hours at the snowstorm accident scene and 17 continuous hours at the mired vehicle scene performing duties that normally would be the responsibility of the Sheriffs' Department or the Colorado Highway Patrol.
Chief Stanley addressed the issues of responsibilities for stranded motorists at a meeting of the County Emergency Services held in Fairplay on March 23rd, and reported on it at the April 1st public meeting of the Board.
The students from the March 16th incident are pictured above with the LePages and Dr. Mason and her children, at Station 1. Lucy sent the following email to the department, expressing her gratitude:
Dear all of you,
Eight Taiwanese stayed in Guffey town on March 14.
Thanks for your help.
We appreciate it.
You let us feel Americans' warmthness.
Appreciate all your efforts again.
Without you that night, maybe we will have more serious things on us.