Most of you all know about the fire we had here last week in Reno. It burned over 2,000 acres, 30 homes were destroyed with another 20 highly damaged, and 10,000 people were evacuated in a 12 hour period. As of this week, the fire officials with the help of the ATF are focusing on the cause of the fire. The evening the fire started we experienced high winds with an upcoming storm. Now when I say ‘high winds’, I’m talking gusts in the 70 mph area. HIGH winds. The officials are focusing on arcing power lines or a blown transformer for the ignition. For me it was a sleepless night due to the sound of the wind blasting the house, having no idea what started around midnight that night a few miles away.
Did we hear sirens?
Did we smell smoke?
Did we even see smoke in the morning?
No. Not until 8am and by then the fire had been raging for eight hours.
I read about it in the morning paper and commented to Hubby, “Hmmm…fire around here close. Do you see anything?” The newspaper didn’t have time to inform us of much since they had to put the paper to print by 1am. So then we turned on the television. We were stunned by the intensity and the ferocity. Immediately thinking of our friends who live in the general area, texting and Facebooking to let them know to come here in any emergency. I spent the rest of the day glued to the television, incapable of turning my attention elsewhere. In many ways, it reminded me of other huge news events…September 11, 2001 and the start of Desert Storm. I could not turn away from it. But this story is not about the fire itself. It is of a man I met the following day. Mr. Fae and I went out to see the damage, careful to go where we were allowed and not try to get in anyone’s way. The police were slowly letting residents back into the neighborhoods that had been evacuated. We had learned the day before that our nephew had been evacuated from where he worked. We went there (I’m trying not to report where the business is as you’ll see why later) and talked to the manager about what had happened. He most graciously had a gentleman bring me to one area close by that the fire had been.
In keeping this as confidential as possible, let’s just call this gentleman Clark Kent. Clark explained to me that he and his co-workers had been helping fight the fire with the approval of the fire department itself. Clark and his guys were dragging garden hoses from house to house putting out spot fires that had been wind driven over the area. They were the lookouts for the firemen. When they saw a new fire break out, one of them would alert the fire crew and until they could get to it, Clark and his group worked it with their garden hoses taken from evacuated homes. I saw what seemed miles of garden hoses Clark and Crew used. I also saw this.
And while a metal fence is nice, wood posts will burn.
While he was showing me how the fire swept down the ravines sometimes being funneled by the irrigation ditches, a woman who had been evacuated came up to us. She asked if we were there that day before. Clark replied yes. That’s all. Just yes. Not, “hell yes, lady! I helped prevent your house from going up in flames.” I looked at him amazed and then turned to the woman and said, “He put out the fires that were in the sage and rabbit brush at your house. He showed me.” She looked at him for a few seconds and quietly thanked him. I could tell that it was from the bottom of her heart.
Both Clark and I turned away. It was time to get back to the car and him back to work. He continued to cough repeatedly and he explained that he inhaled a lot of smoke. I looked into his red rimmed eyes and thanked him from the bottom of my heart as well.
I’m sure that there were many, many more unsung heroes that day of the Caughlin Fire, but I got to meet one.
Thank you, Clark Kent and Crew. You did good.