As Homes Burn in the Helena Fire, a Mother and Daughter Are Saved by Passing Heros

When the Helena Fire broke out last Wednesday, August 30, two men working near Junction City, saved a mother and her daughter after the two had to flee their burning home.

Bobby Bambino and Jon Jordan learned of the fire about 6 p.m. They began driving up the road towards the flames.

“We live right down the street from where the fire was,” Bambino said. “We were trying to see how close the fire was so we could be prepared.”

They were following a law enforcement vehicle when the fire closed in around them. “Trees were falling over,” Bambino said. “You could feel the heat from inside the car.” Bambino began videotaping the experience.

When the officer started to reverse quickly, Jordan, who was driving, immediately followed suit. “As we are backing up, we hear cries for help,” Jordan said.

Bambino said that he caught a glimpse of a little girl on the bank far above the road.

Below is the video he was taking. Part way through, the camera goes into Bambino’s pocket but it keeps recording the sounds of the woman and her daughter crying for help as they were being saved.

“As we were reversing, I see a little bit of the girl’s face,” Bambino explained. “I heard, ‘Help.'”

Bobby Bambino

Bobby Bambino

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, someone needs help,” Bambino cried out.

When Jordan stopped the car, Bambino who was closest began running towards the mother and daughter while tossing his phone in his pocket. “I was running as fast I could,” he explained. “I see the mom holding onto the girl. She couldn’t hold on any longer…The baby girl let go.”

In the video, you can hear her screams.

He said he was just in time to catch her. He asked, “You okay?”

Jon Jordan

Jon Jordan

She can be heard on the video saying, “I thought I was going to die.”

As Bambino brought the girl to law enforcement, Jordan arrived just as the mother slipped and fell, too. “She tried to control herself,” Bambino explained. Then she came crashing down.

Jordan managed to catch her although that isn’t captured on the video.

Then to their horror, the woman cried out that she was worried about her father. The two men jumped back in their vehicle and raced up the side road towards where they thought the woman’s home was located. But once there it was difficult to tell which house they needed to get to. Eventually, they managed to drive close to what they believed was the right place but the home was engulfed. They couldn’t get inside and had to give up while hoping the woman’s father had escaped.

Meanwhile, the woman and her daughter were taken to be checked out.

But that didn’t end the two men’s struggle. They hurried back to the place they were staying. The home of a third friend. “We were trying to save my friend’s home for three days after that,” Bambino said.

They fought the fire with “shovels, fire extinguishers, and water hoses,” according to Jordan. Their friend also had a small piece of equipment, a bobcat, that he used.

“We were throwing mounds of dirt on top of the fire,” Bambino said. “We were surrounded by [flames].”

See the video below as they fought the towering flames partially by hosing down the area around their friend’s home and his neighbor’s.

They tried to help save other homes but aren’t sure whether they succeeded. “I know we saved two houses for sure, yes, ma’am,” Jordan stated.

Several days later, Bambino got in touch with the woman and her daughter who were not badly injured. Bambino said that she explained that her father had been able to escape up another gully and made his way out safely, too. Their home had not burned.

The woman, who declined to be interviewed sent Bambino this message,

Thank you and your friend so much for stopping and helping me and my daughter from falling off the cliff. I am forever great full for it. Thank you so much. It really is so great that there are people like you guys that are willing to jump into action in an emergency. Thank you thank you.

After the interview, Bambino later wrote and asked if this article could include that he has a daughter named Giana. “It was a fatherly instinct as well as human instinct” when faced with the two fleeing the fire to rush and save the falling girl even though flames were all around, he said.

 

Other links to our coverage of the Helena Fire:

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38 comments

  • Twinkle Winklestein

    True heroes

  • They still make good men…

  • These two are heroes. Angels on earth. They were at the right place that they needed to be. This video made me cry when I first saw it yesterday. God bless you all.

  • Hell yeah, you guys rock!!!! I luv that we have such amazing people in all of our watershedz!!!!
    Thank you! Right place right time, amazing

  • We all hope it is in us to help when it happens.

  • Boy if they hadn’t heard the screams…who knows what would’ve happened…god bless…great job..

  • Right place at the right time. Thank you God and thank you to the 2 heros. I love happy endings 🙂

  • Truly amazing men!
    Helping others is a strong instinct in most people, and I’m so overwhelmed with pride that the instinct was stronger than most in this man and his helper.
    Thank God the woman and child could still let out a scream for help, considering the choking smoke!
    Thank God the mother and child and rescuers are fine!
    Thank God the Father made it safely out!
    Thank God the driver was in the right place at the right time!
    Thank God the heroes were still strong and healthy enough to continue fighting nearby fires!
    Thank God for heroes!

  • What a incredible rescue.so happy you heard her cries. Stuff of hero’s

  • that was hard to read thru the tears
    good job HEROS

  • I saw this yesterday and am so glad to have the opportunity now to say how wonderful I think these men are. I got chills when I heard Mr Bambino say to stop because he thought he heard someone calling for help.

    Hero is a word way over used today. In this case it fits. They stopped when they heard the cry. In spite of every reason not to, they stopped.

  • This was hard to watch w/o tearing up. Angels walk among us. Bobby Bambino sounds like a comic book hero, but he is one for real! Great job, you two!

  • Great story thanks Kym and thank you fellas for doing what good men do. As a former firefighter this makes me want to go back to it. Respect to those who deserve it.

  • You don’t see that often. Good going guy!

  • Every day I am amazed by the selflessness of others. Thank you for your courage.

  • The great Bambino !

  • When I heard this song today, images of the heroes in Texas and the Heroes in this article’s video, came to mind as fresh tears flowed down my cheeks.
    If you’re the easily offended type, don’t click.
    If you’re the type that believes in love from above, this song’s for you.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ype1xE0wzsg&feature=youtu.be

  • We were evacuating right across the river on River Acres rd. While this was going on. All hell had broken loose. It was a damn serious situation. We left with our dog, one cat (onrt cat jumped out of our car and ran away). We didn’t have time to fill the back of our 4Runner. This is what our place looks like.

    • I’m so sorry. This looks like it was an absolutely beautiful place.

      • It still is. We are on the south side of the river across from Val Dor. Our property fronts the river. What is truly amazing is that 85% of the vegetation on the south side of the river is still intact. Yeah, the trees around our house are still in tact and the house is gone. Go figure.

        We haven’t been back since the fire started. I imagine when once we return we will be looking at a moonscape across the river to the north. My wife and I are 69 years old. We will not live long enough to see anything which resembles a normal forest to the north. The folks who lived on Val Dor have been dealt a very poor hand.

        • No words to express how sad this is. Glad your alright that’s the important thing.God Bless and hope your able to rebuild.

  • Those guys were fighting that huge fire with a garden hose? Incredible video.

    • I know!!
      I bought 5 wide tubed hoses today just for emergencies. If you clear around your home and have good water storage, it can be done.
      Still friggin intense!!!

      • A gas pump with 1.5″ fire hose is important for a few reasons.

        You never know when power is gonna cut out in a fire, if your on the grid for water pumps.

        A gas pump is a great backup but also can be more mobile. Start the fire fight a little further away from your home if, and when lucky enough to be possible.

        A 2500 gallon tank devoted to fire suppression is a great insurance program. A fire engine generally can hold 500 gallons, so you’ll basically have 4-5 engines worth of water. The 1.5″ fire nozzle attachments are great because you can work with adjustabe sprays; wide swath to direct shoot.

        Having spent $2000 for all this saved my property in the 2015 trinity fires.

        By the way Bobby, Jon: Great job! Big kudos! Amazing timing and incredible video and story. It’s good to have the good stories.

  • You guys are amazing. The world needs more people like you guys in it ❤️❤️❤️

  • A teacher at the Burnt Ranch School (Lacy Duncan) is collecting supplies for folks affected by the Junction City fire. I think she is part of a larger effort, but I may be wrong. Food, clothes, basically anything needed for living, which is pretty much everything. Quite a teacher. Very inspiring to me. So do these guys.

    P.S. The video gave me chills. Nice job guys. You are the kind of people we need around here. Anything we can do, just ask. Place to sleep, food to eat, clothes to wear, help with clean up, or rebuilding, whatever.

  • Bravo and beautiful, Bobby and Jon.
    This is the better part of what being human is all about.
    This is what people with good consciences do. They help others.

    Kym a/or readers, john, above, makes a point. Do these folks, our neighbors, need materials, shelter, food etc? Who is organizing this? How do we help, what do they need?

  • Whew, what an amazing story. Thank you Bobby and Jon.

  • Keep the Air Clean

    Heroes!

  • Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Those guys should be given some sort of award by whatever county that occurred in. It sounds like Trinity. True heroes. Well done, young men! With all the bad in the world, something like this is so refreshing. Thanks for posting, Kym.

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