Firefighters Volunteer to Build Ramp for Teen in Wheelchair

Family says "thank you firefighters" after the Lakeside crew helped out

Three Lakeside firefighters volunteered their off-duty time to build a ramp for a teenager with Spina bifida, a disabling spinal disease that has left her in a wheelchair. 

The good deed coming after firefighters with the Lakeside Fire District were sent to the 18-year-old woman's house for a medical call in the Lakeside area, close to El Cajon.

Crews noticed the home assess ramp at the house was old and unsafe, making it hard to get the teen out. 

"It was difficult to get the guerny up it," said Firefighter-Paramedic Marc Poynter with the Lakeside Fire District. "It also did not have any handrails and she could not get down it without assistance." 

Firefighters said the woman, named Kassie, lives with her mother and siblings. The family could not afford to fix the ramp. That's when firefighters decided to step in and help. 

Captain Chuck Palmore, Engineer Robert Williams and Firefighter-Paramedic Marc Poynter gathered donations to buy the building materials, then spent several days engineering and constructing a new ramp. All on their off-time. 

"After the donations were secured it was onto a few days of manual labor," added Poynter. 

The ramp is compliant with the code of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It has handrails so that Kassie can get down it by herself and have more independence when she goes to school. 

Kassie has been to the hospital twice since the new ramp was constructed. The ramp makes it easier to get out during emergency situations. 

"We saw a family that needed some help," added Poynter. "We wanted to do everything we could." 

The family said they are thankful to the firefighters for lending a helping hand. 

Donations for the ramp were made by J&W Lumber, El Cajon Dixieline, Home Depot of Poway, tractor Supply Company and Lakesire Firefighter Union L4488, firefighters added. 

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