Skip to Content

A local firefighter shares his road to recovery after on-duty injury

It’s been more than five years since a fire destroyed a Coatsburg home, sending three firefighters to the hospital.

One of those firefighters, Rob Balzer, is still battling injuries sustained from that night.

Balzer’s wife, Lisa, says the night of March 3, 2014 stays with them in the form of both emotional and physical scars.

“The burns, the crushed leg, the shoulder wounds; which actually they were there but got exacerbated from being on crutches for so long,” said Lisa. “He’s had knee issues. He’s had over 10 operations.”

Crews say by all accounts it was your run of the mill house fire. What they didn’t know was the fire had spread through the rafters of the house.

“The fire got in the knee walls and it raced down the side of the house,” said Kenny Mast, former Central Adams firefighter.

That lead to the collapse of the garage roof, trapping Balzer and other firefighters inside.

“It turned into a rescue situation,” said Mast.

Mast was one of the firefighters who went back into the garage to help bring Balzer out.

“There really wasn’t any hesitation,” said Mast. “Really the only thing going through my mind was, everyone goes home.”

“The guys that rescued him that night, there’s no words that I could ever say to them,” said Lisa.

Today, Balzer is dealing with the reality that his leg may have to be amputated, which a direct effect of what happened five years ago.

“Our main goal is to get him out of pain but to keep ourselves treading above water,” said Lisa. “For everyone out there to know that volunteer firefighters are the greatest people in the world.”

For more information Rob Balzer’s benefit, click here.

The family has also set up a GoFundMe account. 


Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

Skip to content