My family and I, along with most of our neighbors, lost our homes due to fire in August of 2009. The fire had spread so quickly my grandpa, sister, niece & mom barely got out in time. Flames were on both sides of the street as they drove out of the canyon. My dad stayed behind waiting for my uncle to come with a horse trailer to pick him and our horses up. Authorities wouldn't allow my uncle to pass through due to the flames getting so big so quickly. My dad was stuck in the canyon alone with the 3 horses. My dad fought the fire to the best of his ability. Despite his efforts, he watched as our home burned to the ground. He managed to save my grandpa's home though with a trash can and water from the jacuzzi. He also managed to save 4 neighbors homes. My grandpa was our neighbor where the horses were kept. We didn't know if my father was alive or dead. We had to contact the government informing them that there was a civilian and horses still in the canyon. They finally found him and informed us he was alive. Authorities left my dad with a bottle of water and a sandwich. My dad was not about to leave considering everything was still burning and no one else was there to prevent what he had saved from going up in flames. He would have had to leave the horses behind also. He chose to stay and fight it out. The day after the fire initially started my mom; uncle and I were escorted by authorities up to the canyon to get my dad and the horses. Everything was still smoldering and a variety of things were still on fire. We couldn't see three feet in front of us due to the thickness of smoke. The ground where we walked was still hot. We finally made it to the horse arena and saw my dad standing there with all 3 horses. One horse unfortunately had been burned on its back legs. My dad was exhausted and could barely breathe. He has horrible asthma. The look on his face was something I will never forget. I couldn’t even describe it to you. Needless to say, we were able to get my dad and the three horses out of the canyon. Later on my dad described the sounds, smells and unbelievable sight of everything burning and his efforts that he made to prevent as much damage as possible. This was the most surreal and devastating experience my family and I have ever had. I truly hope no one has to go through anything like this. But, if not for my dad my grandpa’s house along with our neighbors’ homes he saved, wouldn’t be standing today. My father was my hero before this experience but this just added a whole new appreciation and respect for him. If not for his courage, determination, heart and strength, everything would have been lost. My dad is my hero for many reasons but because he never gave up when most would have is another reason to add to the list.
Submitted by Anonymous
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