Nogales, Ariz. - April 13 and 14 were anything but normal days for CBP officers at the Nogales port of entry. Within the space of 24 hours, two officers would show their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, helping save lives and property in danger from two separate fires.
On April 13, Supervisory CBP Officer Juan Osorio left work at the port of entry to check on his neighbor after hearing about a fire at his house. Because he is a Nogales native and spent time as a member of the Nogales Fire Department, he immediately knew the potential for lives and property being lost as the fire spread, so he volunteered to help fight the fire.
After suiting up, he began helping the Nogales Fire Department, but the fire was burning so hot and rapidly that within a few hours, five houses, including Juan's own home, were burning. Firefighters from Rio Rico and Tubac were called to assist, and when the Nogales Sonora Fire Department was called to help with the four-alarm fire, the port of entry rapidly facilitated their crossing into the U.S. to help.
SCBPO Osorio battled alongside firefighters for nine hours, until the fire was finally out. Fortunately, no lives were lost, but Juan's family and five others lost their homes and possessions to the fire.
On April 14, CBP Officer Michelle Danielson was preparing to head out of her house for the day and noticed her neighbor's house across the street was on fire. Officer Danielson called 911 and went over to the house and began banging on the door and yelling to alert the people inside. After several minutes, she was finally able to wake the family and notify them of the fire. She helped the elderly occupant and several young grandchildren to safety, provided clothing for the children, and kept them with her until family members came by to take care of them, even when she had to evacuate her own home until the fire was put out.
CBP and the Nogales Fire Department, with the support of the Nogales Chamber of Commerce, Royal Road Market, and others, will hold two fundraisers on May 1st to raise money to help those families who lost their homes and belongings to both devastating fires. The first fundraiser, a "carne asada" sale, will take place at Karam's Park from 10 a.m to 4 p.m on May 1. The second fundraiser will take place during the "5 de Mayo" celebration at Fleisher Park, where volunteers will sell hamburgers, hot dogs, and soft drinks.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.