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Firefighter fakes blaze at own house in surprise marriage proposal

Zach Steele planted smoke machines in his attic and went to the firehouse to collect his colleagues, who arrived at his house in full gear


By FireRescue1 Staff

VENTURA, Calif. — A firefighter faked a blaze at his own home as part of a dramatic proposal to his girlfriend.

Fox News reported that Venture County Fire Department firefighter Zach Steele planted six smoke machines inside the attic of the home he shares with his girlfriend, Maddison Ridgik, prior to a holiday party at their house.

“Originally I got one smoke machine,” Steele said. “I went to test it and there was barely any smoke. One was not going to work, so I had to get more smoke machines.”

The firefighter left the house during the party and said he had to go pick up more groceries, and instead went to the firehouse.

Ridgik’s stepfather, Johnny Jenson, turned on the smoke machines. Party guests panicked and evacuated, and Ridgik called Steele several times.

As Jenson pretended to put the fire out with a hose, Steele returned to the home in full gear with his colleagues in a fire truck.

“There was way too much smoke, it was crazy. It filled up the attic and the entire garage,” Steele said, according to Metro. “Everyone was in the front yard and I could see Maddison was on the phone panicking. I had seven missed calls [from her]. All the other guys hopped out but I stayed in the engine for about a minute.”

Steele said he then surprised Ridgik by taking off his mask and proposing.

“I could see her back to me as I approached, but I had my mask on so she didn’t recognize me. When I grabbed her waist, she spun around and I took off my mask. She had a look of pure shock and confusion on her face,” he said. “Her hands were shaking as she tried to figure it all out. She turned away from me and [when] she turned back around I was on one knee. I asked her to marry me and thank God she said yes.”

Ridgik said the proposal was “truly the best, most indescribable moment of my life.”