WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 31, 2013, 09:46 PM

Deputy’s ‘gold plate promise’ to keep Casselton residents safe

Casselton, ND (WDAY TV) - More than 24 hours have passed since fire balls burst into the air.

Casselton, ND (WDAY TV) - More than 24 hours have passed since fire balls burst into the air.

Multiple crews across not only North Dakota, but the nation, descended on Casselton to help extinguish the fire, including one local deputy who hit the pavement hard to keep a town of merely 2,500 safe.

A normal day in the office usually looks a little different.

"It’s just one of those things where you just have to flow and adapt and meet the challenges as they come."

But for Deputy Jolene Fletcher, her duties stay the same.

"You’re doing what we do at the sheriff’s office: Keeping everybody safe."

After all, she has the badge to serve and protect.

"You train for stuff like this. This is why we do emergency drills. This is why we do all the different scenarios that you see us doing, so when it does happen, it's real and it's live. It's second nature to us."

Still, beneath the gold plate promise sits a human heart pounding as Fletcher saw a train derail for the first time.

"I was able to get my cell phone out and get video of it. And sure enough, I had had my car window about half-way down. You could feel it; you could feel it right on your face, and it was amazing. If that's the word to use, it was absolutely amazing."

What’s even more amazing is the amount of time this deputy is willing to give.

"I’ve got one deputy. She's been here since 6 yesterday morning."

As of Tuesday, she’s gone without sleep for more than 24 hours.

"And I don't know when I'll be going home, but, you know, we kind of keep an eye on each other. We watch out for each other and take care of each other."

And Fletcher’s not the only one. More than 60 deputies crawled across Casselton overnight; Hazmat teams, Red Cross volunteers and fire departments, too.

"When we were first called to the scene, it was pretty obvious what we had."

Even the mayor of the town, overwhelmed by support, had good things to say (pardon his pun).

"It was a well-oiled machine and I don't think anybody ever felt that we were running around in confusion whatsoever."

But behind the uniforms and underneath the strength is still a person.

Like Deputy Jolene Flether who admits without her badge…

"Yeah it probably would scare me."

She’s only human.