By Dan Nephin, Staff Writer, Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA)
Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company firefighter Cameron Hildebrand didn’t want to propose to his girlfriend, Kayleigh Peterson, the usual way.
“I didn’t want to do the same old, out for supper, ring and food. I wanted to do something out of the ordinary,” he said Monday.
Boy, did he. You could call it the three-alarm proposal.
While Peterson was sleeping over at his parents’ house Saturday morning, about a dozen of his fellow firefighters arrived with a ladder truck.
They ran a smoke machine inside the house to set off the smoke alarms. Two firefighters went to the second-floor back bedroom, where Peterson was just awakening.
They took her out a front-room window, got her into the ladder truck’s bucket and lowered her to the ground.
Hildebrand then came out from behind a truck, got down on a knee and proposed.
She said yes.
“I think it’s very creative. I never would have been able to guess that that’s something he would have been able to come up with,” said Peterson, 20, a teacher’s aide at a day care.
Hildebrand said it took about a month to plan the ruse. His family and the company were in on it.
“I grew up around the fire service, and when I became 18 (in February 2012) I joined the company my dad is currently with,” he said. His dad drives for the company.
So having the company involved was a given.
Firefighters shot video and photographs of the event, which can be seen on Pioneer’s Facebook page (and below).
In the video, Peterson isn’t out of bed yet when the smoke detectors sound. She said she figured they might have gone off because of cooking, noting that’s the reason they go off at her home.
“A couple minutes later, I see firefighters coming in saying, ‘Get up, it’s a real fire,'” she said.
Peterson, of Lansdale, said she had no idea what was happening until Hildebrand came out from behind a truck.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my God, he’s proposing! That’s awesome,'” she said.
Hildebrand said he wasn’t nervous that Peterson might say no.
“Not at all. It was instant joy. She was just complete … I don’t know how to describe it,” he said.
The couple haven’t picked a date, but Peterson said they’re thinking of a fall wedding. They’ve been dating about two years and met at a mutual friend’s house.
The involvement of the fire company in the proposal underscores its importance to Hildebrand, and Peterson is fine with that.
“I’m very proud for him that he does this. It’s amazing. It says a lot about his character – it’s very good,” she said.
Chief Allen Pettyjohn said had there been a real fire, the company probably would have been able to get to it faster because the firefighters were already suited up.
While he’s unaware of equipment having been involved in a wedding proposal before, he said company trucks have been taken to members’ weddings for photos. And he noted equipment is used for other nonfire events, such as bringing Santa to town.
Deputy Chief Ken Weber viewed the use of the truck as minimal.
“The No. 1 thing is, we are a volunteer service, so anything we can do to try to keep (firefighters) involved” the company tries to do, he said.
(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
Here’s the View from the Tower Bucket