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News | June 10, 2024

Fort McCoy employee, Army Reserve Soldier saves family from house fire

By Christopher Jones Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

Tyler Griffith, a heavy mobile equipment repair leader with the 88th Readiness Division’s Equipment Concentration Site-67 at Fort McCoy is being hailed as a hero after his quick actions saved a family from a potentially tragic house fire on the morning of May 24.

Griffith, a former U.S. Marine with extensive military training who currently serves in the Army Reserve as a staff sergeant, was on his morning commute May 24 when he noticed a manufactured home ablaze near the Monroe County highway intersection of Q and B outside of Cataract, Wis.

“I turned on one of the side roads and happened to look and see a porch on fire,” Griffith recounted. “The first thing I thought of was, ‘That’s weird for somebody to be burning stuff this early in the morning.’ And then I realized nobody was out there.”

Without hesitation, Griffith pulled into the driveway, rushed to the door, and woke the occupants, ensuring their safety.

“I said, ‘Hey, you need to get everybody out and your house is on fire,’” Griffith explained. He then assisted in extinguishing the fire, quickly utilizing a garden hose found on the property to save the family and their home from being engulfed in flames.

Griffith arrived on the scene at a pivotal moment, just mere minutes away from potential tragedy for the family.

“I found out later that the fire department said if it had been a minute or two more — or had nobody stopped — the parents would have probably been separated from their kids and wouldn’t have been able to get to them in the house,” Griffith said. “With me having kids myself, that was a really sobering thing right there.”

Annette Farrell, the mother of one of the occupants, took to social media to express her gratitude.

“Big shout out to a local hero Tyler Griffith,” she wrote. “He singlehandedly saved my son Neil, Sierra Tesar, and my grandbabies from perishing in what could have been a terrible house fire this morning.”

Having served in two deployments to Iraq in 2006 and 2008, Griffith's extensive military background possibly played a significant factor to his rapid response to the family’s emergency.

“I think just the training of the military itself kind of prepares you for those situations in a way that's almost hard to comprehend because it just felt automatic,” Griffith said. “I felt like I was on autopilot until afterwards, then the adrenaline kicked in and I was like … ‘Oh, I might have saved their life.’”

Despite the extraordinary events of his morning commute, Griffith managed to arrive at work on time, causing a stir among his coworkers, family, and friends, who jokingly refer to him as Superman after being astonished by his nonchalant demeanor in the face of such a dramatic rescue.

“They call me hero…and fireman and stuff like that when I tell them how it all went down and the fact that I just kind of left without saying my name or anything,” he laughed. “They’re like, ‘that is the most Tyler thing that I've ever heard,’ because that's just the type of person I am. I don’t ever seek praise for what I do. It was just a normal Friday other than the fire part — you know? I still had work to do.”

As for what’s next for Griffith, he’s not seriously considering a career change to firefighting since he’s already too busy being a hero to his family.

“No…I think that window has closed,” he chuckled. “I have considered possibly at some point maybe doing, like, volunteer fire department stuff … but I have a daughter that plays sports so there’s not a lot of free time in my life, and it’s just as important to be there for my kids.”

When asked what message he would share with others who find themselves in similar emergency situations, Griffith emphasized the importance of helping others.

“Don’t be afraid to help people,” he urged. “Any sort of action is better than inaction. Just treat people how you want to be treated. I mean, I would hope that somebody would have done the same for me had the roles been reversed.”

Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.

The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”

Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base. Fort McCoy is also part of Army’s Installation Management Command where “We Are The Army’s Home.”