Former Firefighter Saves Home, Neighbor’s Home in Wildfire

RENO, NV - NOVEMBER 17: Reno Police block road access while engulfed in wildfire smoke from the Pinehaven Fire on November 17, 2020 in Reno, Nevada. The Pinehaven Fire has burned at least 1,500 acres, destroyed multiple structures and is threatening hundreds more. (Photo by Trevor Bexon/Getty Images)
Trevor Bexon/Getty Images

A former firefighter saved both his home and his neighbor’s home in a wildfire in Nevada armed with only a garden hose.

“It was the most convenient thing to use,” David Howton told the Reno Gazette-Journal Thursday. “So as soon as I went and got my garden hose, I was able to put out the fire.”

The 67-year-old retired firefighter and current fourth-grade teacher left school Tuesday and rushed straight home after his wife, Marcia, told him their fence was on fire.

Marcia, 60, gathered up their three dogs and one bunny and evacuated to her sister’s house about a mile away while she updated David on the fire.

The Howtons’ neighbor has a backyard and a fence that sink into a canyon. The fence connects the Howtons’ and the neighbor’s yard and began burning when the flames started encroaching upon the Howtons’ property.

When David arrived home, he found the flames lapping at his home’s back steps. The fire spread down the canyon to the neighbor’s fence as well, so David grabbed his garden hose and went to work.

It took about ten minutes to extinguish the flames.

The Howtons’ property did not suffer any significant damage, and their neighbors only had minor property damage to their yard and fence.

Tuesday’s fire was the third wildfire to strike that neighborhood in the past 15 years.

David Howton is not the first off-duty or retired firefighter to put out a fire at a neighbor’s property.

In August 2017, an off-duty firefighter in Fairfax, Virginia, grabbed a garden hose and fought flames on his neighbor’s property sparked by lightning, WUSA reported.


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