Readers share their fire experiences | NevadaAppeal.com

Readers share their fire experiences

Submitted by Nevada Appeal readers

Do you believe in miracles? We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to all the people fighting this catastrophe Ð how they saved our home is beyond explanation.

-Gregg Dixon and Sierra Gitlin

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You ask for fire stories and all I have to say is that I would like to concentrate on the positive. I want to give a big thank you and hug to EVERY firefighter out there risking their lives to save what they can!

Our good friends have a house up in Timberline and yesterday in all the commotion and panic we helped them get last minutes things out of their house. As we were driving off the hill I could see in the rearview mirror the flames coming down into the Timberline subdivision and I thought to myself, “This could be the last time my friends see their house” and I prayed that the firefighters would be safe and do what they could. Our main concern was that our friends and their family and dog were safe.

I am writing this letter because we seem to want to place blame on the firefighters for letting it get out of control and burn the beauty we took for granted, BUT I want to give each firefighter a pat on the back and a HUGE THANK YOU for doing such a good job. As we know nature, the weather and the extreme dryness are going to do what is natural and man can only do so much, but they did miraculous things. I saw these firefighters stand face to face with flames and not back down until they had to leave. What amazes me it that ALL of those homes from Kings Canyon, C-Hill, Ash Canyon, Timberline and Lakeview could have been destroyed, BUT the firefighters wouldn’t let that happen. They are risking their lives to save other peoples possessions. I pray for their safety and that a miracle happens and they will get this fire out soon. Just know that we GREATLY APPRECIATE YOU FIREFIGHTERS!

From a citizen in Carson City that feels blessed that we have such a GREAT community and GREAT firefighters!

-Tammy Smith

At the beginning of this year, my husband had a split rail fence built enclosing our entire property on C Hill. Having moved from Key Largo, Florida two years ago, our knowledge of fire prevention was limited. We called the fire marshall immediately and he came out and told us what to do.

My husband took it to the limit and extended our fire lane by 10 feet on either side. When the fire raged over C Hill and started moving towards our property line, I thought our home was gone. It did not seem that anything could stop it.

But the fire lane held. As if by magic, a fire truck from North Tahoe backed into our driveway. They ran up the hill with hoses and picks and saved our home. They said the fire lane extension was the best thing we could have done. No more will I tease my husband about over doing everything. Here is a photo of where the fire stopped short of our property.

Our thanks to all of the many firefighters who are working so hard to save our city.

-P.J. and Patrick Degross

Although the outpouring of support has been wonderful, there is a small glitch. Yesterday’s evacuation of the Evergreen Center was unduly held up as the Sheriff’s Deputy at the road blocks wouldn’t let the buses through.

At the same road block, we were denied access to help an oxygen dependent senior to evacuate from the University Terrace apartments, which should be noted that an ambulance had previously been called and never showed up. (I wonder if it had been turned away also?)

It’s a pity that there is no discretion beyond “No one goes past this point. No exceptions” (which is a direct quote from the deputy.) It is only with God’s grace that our friend was able to get assistance to leave and meet us.

Thank you for the opportunity to tell someone. Most of everything has been very uplifting and supportive through this difficult time. It is my prayer that some consideration be made for special circumstances.

Thanks.

-Becky Wilson

My father and I stayed in Timberline and fought the blaze away from the house at 180 Lotus Circle. We fought it with sprinklers and hoses. Trees burning a 100′ in the air. In shorts and shirts we saved our home.

-Tim Davis

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Mine is not gut-wrenching nor will it tug at your heart, it is full of disappointment.

Wednesday morning at about 4:30 am as my husband was getting ready for work, he woke me and called me over to the 2nd story window. “Look at that” he said. About ? mile away was a small fire at the top of Kings Canyon. I said” Look’s like a campfire must have gotten away form someone”. Doug quickly replied, “I wonder if anyone knows”.

Still staring at the fire we noted that it was very lucky there was no wind (because the white smoke was rising in a vertical stream).

We then noticed head lights on either side of the fire and I remarked off-handedly, “Hope they don’t screw around with it and let it get out-of-control; they seem to have time to knock it out if they hit it hard a don’t fool around.”

Doug left for work at 5 am and I left at 7:15, I was sure that the Carson City Fire Department had everything handled. After all of the lectures on extreme conditions due to the years and years of drought, surely they wouldn’t have just sent up a couple of guys with shovels to tackle a timber fire.

When I went home a lunch to check on my 11-year-old child, he was nervous but insisted that he was okay. No one spoke to me about evacuations. At about 4 pm someone at my office told me that evacuations had begun but were voluntary in my neighborhood. My neighbor told me that she and her husband were let through the barricades because they had to rescue a pet. They were just asked to surrender their drivers’ licenses.

So to the sheriff deputy that I spoke with, “When I said I had to get to my child, I was being truthful with you. I saw on TV the sheriff arresting that man in Lakeview. That could have been me. Although I am in my mid-50s, that would have been the only way you could have prevented me from entering my home to take out my son.”

You were wrong; my boy had not been removed from the house. You were wrong; the deputies did not go door-to-door. I know you had your orders, but I had my child to think of.

I asked you for an escort and you tried to send me to the command center. I am sorry that I had to commit civil disobedience but was willing to accept the consequences even arrest. I obstructed no one or no vehicle. I discovered later that my neighborhood was never issued any type of evacuation orders.

Like my neighbors, I offered you my driver’s license. Why would you let my neighbors drive in to get a dog, but refuse me permission to get my child?”

My heart goes out to everyone who has worked or is working on this fire. What a mess! I have enjoyed those mountains for over 25 years and realize that I will never see that view again and it hurts. I am angry, but not trying to lay blame. I don’t think anything was done maliciously. Whoever had an illegal campfire was careless. But, perhaps our Carson City Fire Dept was careless too by not throwing their resources at this fire during those first few windless hours.

-Katherine Yonkers

Photo submitted by Clay McElhany, taken at 6 a.m. Wednesday, at the start of the fire.

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I am the team leader for the Fire Education Team working out of Carson City this year. The Waterfall Fire has brought the very serious and real risk of wildland fires to the forefront of people’s minds. While the memory is still fresh and people will be more likely to act, our team is getting out and talking with homeowners on things that can be done to their homes to create a defensible & survivable space. With over 1000 home threatened currently and well under 100 engines fighting the blaze, it is apparent that not every home will be able to have an engine defend it. That is where the term survivable comes into play. Homeowners can greatly increase the chances of their home surviving by just taking small preventative steps before the fires begin. We provide free home evaluations, recommending ways to mitigate risk to the homeowner and provide the fire departments with crucial pre-planning information that will allow them to be better able to respond. I have attached some information about SCA and if you have any questions, please feel free to call me.

Thank you,

Kari Fallert

Student Conservation Association

Fire Education Corps

Team Leader – Carson City

Photo submitted by Bob Grumbine, taken at 11:54 Wednesday night.

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We will add more stories and photos as we can.

I woke up from a nap on my 40th birthday, July 22, 1980, to what looked like the north end of Carson City was ablaze. It was a huge fire coming over the hill south of Lakeview! I had been slightly depressed that I had turned 40 that day, hence the nap. Well, I forgot about the BIG 40. Friends arrived at our home and practically emptied the house. We had our furniture spread all over Carson City that night and the next 2 days. Our home in Lakeview had a second story deck, facing west and south. We had a front row seat to watch the fire jump from tree to tree. Each tree seemed to ‘explode’! We lived in our Lakeview home for 4 years and through 2 major fires. We finally decided to move into town, away from the trees that were left on the mountains. It was a beautiful place, but not worth the worry. I am attached to family, friends and animals, not a place in which to live!. S. Jilek of the middle of Southwest Reno!

I was just up in Lakeview looking at the damage. The firefighters did an incredible job protecting not only the homes, but the foliage as well. It is incredible to think how many flames were engulfing that hill, how close they came to the homes, and how the firefighters managed to squelch them out – hats off to them!

Brenton Simpson