December 13, 2018

Rescues following house explosion win Missouri Public Safety fire investigator State Employee of the Month honors

Division of Fire Safety Fire Investigator Ryan Lesh awarded top state honor for his role in rescuing two people after September house explosion in Jefferson County

Ryan Lesh, Fire Investigator with the Division of Fire Safety, has been named the State of Missouri Employee of the Month for December 2018. Ryan’s selection as the Department of Public Safety November 2018 Employee of the Month made him eligible for the statewide honor. 

On Sept. 9, 2018, Ryan was at his home in Byrnes Mill, in Jefferson County, when he heard what sounded like an explosion. He immediately went to investigate, quickly arriving on the scene of a house explosion. Without hesitation, Ryan began searching for anyone who might have been injured in the rubble of the single-family home.

He spotted a neighbor, who, while attempting to rescue a woman injured in the explosion, had himself become trapped in the debris. Together, Ryan and an off-duty Kirkwood firefighter rescued both the neighbor and the woman, who had been in the house during the explosion. The victims were under several feet of burning debris.

Ryan and the off-duty firefighter got the woman and the neighbor out of the burning structure before fire crews and EMS had arrived on the scene. Ryan’s swift and selfless action in response to a house explosion helped save at least one life. Unfortunately, the woman’s husband was killed in the explosion and fire.

Ryan joined the Division of Fire Safety in February 2017, after serving in the United States Air Force for eight years and rising to the rank of staff sergeant. In the Air Force, Ryan gained valuable experience as a military police officer.   

Congratulations to Ryan for his life-saving effort and the outstanding example he’s set for his co-workers throughout Missouri state government! 


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