Taking It Too Far? Firefighter Fakes Blaze at House To Propose to Girlfriend

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Stories of extreme proposals have gone viral in the past, much like the man who faked a life-threatening injury to propose to his girlfriend or the man who made his girlfriend fear for her life during a fake airplane engine failure in mid-air.

But in these instances, the line between sweet and too far can become a little fuzzy, leaving others to wonder which category each individual story falls into.

Another extreme proposal just went recently went viral featuring a firefighter and his girlfriend.

Zach Steele, 30, knew that when it came time to propose to his girlfriend of over seven years, Maddison Ridgik, also 30, that he wanted to include a fire engine and his colleagues. So when he got the idea to start a fake fire in the attic of their home, he ran with the idea once his captain approved it.

Steele used six remote-controlled smoke machines, each carefully placed to start pouring smoke into the vents and out of the attic.

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According to Inside Edition, the couple was hosting a holiday party and Steele told Ridgik that he forgot a few groceries at the store. While he was out, the smoke panicked Ridgik and the few guests who weren’t in on the plan.

The firefighter had not actually gone to the grocery store, but instead returned to the fire station to pick up some of his buddies for the house call he knew was about to come in.

“A group of us were standing in the kitchen enjoying a glass of wine and some hors d’oeuvres when my stepdad came into the room and frantically told us we had to get out,” Ridgik told SWNS later. “I grabbed the dogs and went out front, when we got out there there was smoke coming out of all the vents from the attic.”

As he and his colleagues arrived at the California home, Steele saw Ridgik standing outside along with her stepdad, Johnny Jenson, pretending to quench the flames with a garden hose.

Steele recognized that he may have used too many smoke machines because the smoke billowing out of the house was a little more dramatic than he originally intended, but it didn’t stop him from carrying on with the elaborate rouse.

“There was way too much smoke, it was crazy. It filled up the attic and the entire garage,” he told SWNS. “Everyone was in the front yard and I could see Maddison was on the phone panicking. I had seven missed calls.”

Do you think this blazing proposal went too far?

“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. Her hands were shaking as she tried to figure it all out,” he continued.

“She turned away from me and she turned back around I was on one knee. I asked her to marry me and, thank God, she said yes.”


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Ridgik said that the only other person who didn’t know about the surprise proposal was her mom and that everyone else was extremely convincing.

Even though it started out as a tragically emotional event, she said it turned out to be “the best.”

“I was so confused and I honestly could not sort through my emotions enough to really comprehend what was happening,” Ridgik said. “When he got down on one knee I was so emotional. I was still shaking and crying yet so excited. It was truly the best, most indescribable moment of my life.”

The couple is set to be married on March 30, 2019, but Steele made it clear that he isn’t planning any pranks for the wedding ceremony. “It will be much less drama,” he said.

Do you think this blazing proposal went too far?

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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