Firefighter, cop with SH ties honored in Lebanon

Lebanon Fire District Lt. Brett Kibble and Firefighter Casey Topp, along with Lebanon Police Officer Justin McCubbins, received the Medal of Valor May 2 at the annual Oregon Fire Chiefs Association Conference in Redmond.

McCubbins is a former Sweet Home Police officer and Topp is a a former Sweet Home resident volunteer.

According to Lebanon Fire Chief Gordon Sletmoe, in the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2018, Kibble and Topp responded with an LFD engine a report of small fire on the porch of an occupied apartment building.

Upon arrival, Kibble reported an apartment building with fire on the second-story, burning through the roof and immediately called for reinforcements. During his initial scene evaluation, he encountered two people hanging out of second-story windows to the rear of the building and one patient lying on the ground after jumping from a second-story window.

Kibble retrieved a 24-foot extension ladder and immediately initiated rescue operations.

Before additional help from LFD could arrive, Kibble and McCubbins, who was nearby on patrol when the call for help went out, were able to position the ladder to reach one of the second-story windows.

Kibble climbed the ladder and assisted an elderly female down to safety. They then quickly moved the ladder to the next window farther down the building, and was able to remove another female from her apartment.

Both apartments sustained heavy fire damage, leaving the rear window as the only means of egress.

Kibble then assisted the third female victim who had jumped from the building – fracturing her leg and spine – to a medic crew.

During the rescues, Topp engaged the pump on Engine 34, deployed a hose line, and began attacking the fire at the front of the apartment building. By the time Topp began to apply water, the fire had already entered both second-story apartments, blocking any normal means of escape for the occupants.

He continued to battle the flames alone until other members of LFD could arrive.

“Lt. Kibble executed two dramatic rescues off the ground ladder in an extremely tight location,” Sletmoe said.

“Officer McCubbins went above and beyond his normal expectations of duty and assisted Lt. Kibble in ladder operations. Firefighter Topp held the fire at bay by himself while the rescues were performed.

“Their actions directly saved the two trapped occupants from further harm.”