firefighters build wall

Members of the Pocatello Fire Department finish a retaining wall to help an elderly person they assisted on a medical call.

POCATELLO — Building retaining walls and having a good eye for landscaping certainly aren’t part of the job description for being a local firefighter or paramedic.

Several weeks ago, however, a team of city firefighters stuck around well after they’d tended to an elderly man who had fallen to lend him a hand with some heavy lifting and yard work.

David Scott, a captain at Fire Station 5 at 5300 S. Bannock Highway, explained that a five-member team responded to a report of an elderly man who fell while attempting to finish a landscaping project in his backyard. The man didn’t require a medical transport. However, one of the medics at the scene, James Baird, worried the man might be tempted to try finishing off the retaining wall he’d been building, potentially risking another fall.

Baird, Scott, firefighter Shaun Clark, Anthony Targos, who was the ambulance driver, and Jake Sellman, who drove the fire engine, all started stacking colored pavers to build the final tier of the wall. They also back-filled the project with bags of gravel.

“Everything seemed to go together quite well, and the back-fill seemed to make it feel pretty solid,” Scott said.

Scott said Baird and his brother have a side landscaping business, so the man was in good hands.

“That particular medic (Baird) is particularly good about noticing things like that,” Scott said, referencing his colleague’s knack for helping people in need of a hand.

The department recently posted about the good deed on its social media page. Accompanying photographs of the firefighters building the wall, the post reads: “Most people think our job ends when an emergency is over. They’re correct. But just because our job ends doesn’t mean our obligations to our neighbors stop.”

Scott has worked for the department for 17 years and said members routinely do good deeds for the community that often go unnoticed. In the past, he’s seen colleagues return after assisting an elderly person for a fall in a bathroom to install wall mounts and handles. The department carries smoke detectors on its engines to install in case members respond to a home in which no detectors are present. They also maintain a charitable fund to help out when they discover a household with people in need.

For example, Scott said funds have been used to buy groceries for diabetics with too little food in their refrigerators and pantries.