Volunteer Spotlight: Joshua Stanshaw

Name: Joshua Stanshaw
Title: Firefighter
Department: Yreka City Fire Department
Location: Yreka, CA

Why are you an NVFC member?
I joined my volunteer department in October 2021. I quickly found I had a passion for all aspects of the service. I joined the NVFC so that I could utilize it not just as a resource for myself, but for the better of my department. I frequently read the posts in the forums, especially on topics that we are discussing in my department.

What is your occupation?
Grants/finance manager

Why are you a fire service volunteer?
I joined because a good friend of mine has been a volunteer for nearly 20 years. When I changed jobs to one that was close to home and accommodating of the volunteer service, it made sense to join and help ease the burden on a shrinking volunteer membership.

What year did you join the fire or emergency services?

What are your memorable moments as a firefighter or EMS provider?
My most memorable moments were in my first week as a firefighter in 2021. I was appointed to the department on October 19, sworn in on October 21, and received my gear on October 22. Shortly after midnight on October 25, we were toned for a structure fire with entrapment. I got to our station and was one of three total personnel on the engine. It was a tragic fire, resulting in the death of a toddler. The scene was total chaos with distraught parents/family. It was unforgettable. Two days later, shortly after 10pm we were dispatched to a structure fire in which an LPG leak had saturated a house. The fuel/air mixture was just right, and it exploded quite spectacularly. Fifteen-foot wide sections of exterior wall were blown into the neighbor’s yard. No one was killed or injured, thanks to the owner’s dog that ran from the house, and they gave chase.

Needless to say, I still have the reputation of being a black cloud.

What contributions have you (and your department) made in your community?
In 2022, the McKinney fire that started in the Klamath National Forest (CA) roared towards the city of Yreka. Members of our department, myself included, dropped everything we were doing for the next three days to staff our station around the clock. We had considerable additional resources called in by state and federal agencies. It was almost impossible to turn down a street and not run into a Type 3 engine. Despite these extra resources, we staffed the station, doing all we could to stand ready to defend our neighbors’ houses from the looming threat. We caught an unbelievably lucky break in the weather. Rain came in and tamped down the fire. The following week, the front of our station was decorated with cut out paper hearts with handwritten messages expressing gratitude. It was evident that it wasn’t so much what we did, but that the people knew we were there, ready to do everything within our ability to protect life and property.

Interested in serving your community? Find volunteer fire service opportunities at www.MakeMeAFirefighter.org.