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Charly Haley, Forum News Service, Published June 30 2013

Jamestown firefighter finds unique way to propose

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Volunteer firefighter Josh Smaage had never been so nervous about going on a fire call.

That’s because it wasn’t an ordinary call on a recent Wednesday morning — it was staged to arrange for a surprise marriage proposal to his girlfriend, Rachael Klose.

Klose’s co-workers at Otter Tail Power Co. in Jamestown pretended to have headaches, Klose said, until her boss, who also was in on the surprise, called the Jamestown Fire Department about a possible carbon monoxide leak.

“It’s an electric company, so of course there’s no gas,” Smaage said. “But I was hoping she wouldn’t catch on right away.”

Klose said she didn’t even expect Smaage to come with his fellow firefighters.

“I thought they’d just send the Ready Squad,” she said.

The Ready Squad is full-time firefighters. Part-time volunteers like Smaage usually only go on calls with an actual fire.

Klose and her co-workers were evacuated as part of the charade, and then Smaage started talking to Klose. He got down on one knee and proposed, while her co-workers around her cheered, “Say yes!”

She did say yes, and after Smaage put the ring on Klose’s finger, the couple embraced.

Klose was then approached by another firefighter who asked her the standard questions about carbon monoxide poisoning — “Are you experiencing confusion? Shortness of breath?” — and everyone laughed.

Afterward, Klose was smiling and said she was shaking. She happily accused her co-workers, yelling, “Did you know about this?”

Smaage and Klose have been together for a year and a half, Smaage said. He’d planned the surprise proposal in the past couple of weeks.

And Klose hadn’t suspected a thing.

“I’m in shock,” she said, still smiling. “I had no idea.”

As for a wedding date — the couple was a little too overwhelmed in the moment of their engagement to think about that yet.