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One injured firefighter to come home Saturday


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Robert Bonham to be released from hospital; Jeff Stroble in critical but stable condition

One of two Roswell firefighters hospitalized in Lubbock with injuries from a June 5 explosion will be released from the hospital and return home this Saturday.

Robert “Hoby” Bonham, 36, and an 18-year veteran firefighter with the Roswell Fire Department, will be released from a hospital and come back into Roswell from the east coming down East 2nd Street, according to a press release issued on Friday by the Roswell Fire Department.

“The public is invited to line the streets and welcome Hoby back home,” the release states.

Though Bonham is expected to be released from the hospital Saturday morning, the time of his arrival in Roswell is not known and travel plans still have to be finalized.

According to the release, information about the estimated time of arrival will be posted on the Roswell Fire Department’s and the city of Roswell’s Facebook pages, but might not be known until the family is on the road.

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Bonham and Jeff Stroble, 46, a fire apparatus operator with the department for 17 years, both received serious injuries when they and 10 other firefighters were preparing fireworks for what was then expected to be the Fourth of July fireworks display when the building they were in exploded.

The 10 other firefighters in the building at the time of the explosion received what were described as minor injuries and were released from a local hospital after being checked out by medical personnel.

No announcement has been made when Stroble will return home.

Stroble’s wife Reba said Wednesday that her husband has made strides, but that he still has a ways to go.

“He is doing very well, but he has got a long road ahead of him,” she said.

Since the Strobles arrived at the hospital in Lubbock, Reba Stroble said life has been a rollercoaster with many ups and downs. At first, her husband’s condition did not appear to be encouraging.

“They gave us a 10% chance of survivability,” she said.

However, God and the fight put up by her husband have changed things. She said her husband had gone into surgery and was later told by doctors that he is doing exceptionally well.

Reba Stroble said that Jeff Stroble is currently in critical but stable condition.

“We will be in Burn ICU at least three more months with rehab of 6-9 months after,” she said.

He has had seven surgeries so far and possibly 15 or more additional surgeries to go. Reba Stroble said the situation is made difficult by her husband’s size and the amount of surface burns to his body. She said he is a little more than 6 feet tall and about 250 pounds.

She said the response from the Roswell community that she and her family have received has been “absolutely amazing.”

“There are not even words to thank the community,” she said.

The support comes not only from Roswell, but in the form of people from all over the country, she said, adding that across the country, people are praying for her husband.

She also appreciates the fundraisers, which she said are very humbling. The way people have pulled together to support her and her family in their hour of need is something that Stroble said is amazing and makes her proud to be where she is from.

“Thank you is obviously not enough, but it is all I can say at the moment,” Reba Stroble said.

At least two prayer vigils for Jeff Stroble and Bonham have been hosted and held in Roswell so far, one the evening of June 5 in the parking lot of the Wool Bowl just hours after the explosion had happened, and another June 16 on the Chaves County Courthouse lawn.

Reba Stroble encourages people to continue to send the prayers her way.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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