RED LODGE, Mont. - After spending more than 60 days in the University of Utah Burn Center, Red Lodge Firefighter Dan Steffensen made a heroic return to his hometown of Red Lodge Tuesday.
When Dan flew into Red Lodge around noon, a crowd of fellow firefighters, EMTs and residents of Red Lodge were waiting to cheer him on.
Following those cheers, Dan took his time embracing the dozens of friends, loved ones, and really anyone who came to show their support.
Firefighters who know Dan personally tell us they have been praying for their friend to make a speedy recovery, but even they didn't think he would look as healthy and happy as he did returning home.
Dan had burns covering more than 45% of his body after being injured while fighting the Harris Fire in mid-July.
He was told his recovery would be long and difficult, and he should expect to be in the hospital for about six months. But two months later, Dan is back home and well on his way to a full recovery. He says he couldn't have done it alone.
"This town came behind me like nobody, this whole state... And I know your prayers were there, and I know those prayers fueled getting me out of there early. There is still a ton of work to do, but I'm going home, that's good. I can eat bad food. Thank you… all of you," Dan said.