COMMUNITY COMMENTARY

My daughter Valerie and her husband Michael Corral own 106 acres in Davenport, Calif., on Swanton Road, which houses three homes. Due to the mountainous conditions and heavily wooded terrain, the homes are not visible to each other. Their property was in no danger from the fire in mid-August until the wind changed at Boony Doon and it became apparent that the fire was fast approaching their property. Fire crews were being dispatched from all over the United States, with some traveling 11 to 15 hours before beginning their 24-hour shift. As the fire began to encroach on the property the fire crews began their rigorous work to control the inferno, which was rapidly destroying my daughter’s property. The other two homes were salvaged because of easy access by the fire trucks. The home in which she resides was not accessible for the fire trucks due to the very narrow road leading to it. It was declared indefensible; in other words not capable of being defended against the fire.
This my daughter did not know until the firemen, after striking up a relationship with her, asked their commander if they could attempt to try to save her home. He stated that after they had completed their 24-hour shift and were on their own, they were at liberty to do as they pleased. Now remember, these men has been working for 24 hours with no rest, yet they offered their services without pay to try to rescue the house. Two crews, one from Oceanside and one from Encinitas, arrived and said “We’re here to help.” After working their 24-hour shift on the fire, they proceeded to walk up that narrow road to continue digging trenches around her home. She was totally amazed at how these men worked.
There is a steep grade at the back of her house and they climbed that area and began to not only dig the trenches but cut down trees and continue surrounding the house with trenches. Even though she offered refreshments, they declined and kept working. In addition to these fire crews, there were volunteers from the town of Davenport and also correctional inmates who served to contain the fire. My daughter was humbled and thankful for the hard work performed by all those who fought the fire and said to them “you guys are rock stars.” The men laughed at receiving this compliment. She is fully aware that without their dedication there would have been no home for her to reside in. Her property is two miles above Swanton Road and she posted a large sign at the end of the property facing Swanton Road with the words “Firemen Are Rock Stars — With Gratitude and Respect.”
I understand from her that the crews will remain for another two months to look for hot spots that may flare up. “Thank you” are two words that so simple and easily said but to those of you who serve to save, those words are filled with sincere appreciation. She said that it would have been impossible to gather all the names of those marvelous heroes who would, at a drop of a hat, risk their lives to save others and who travel many miles to do so. As her mother, I also say “Thank you” for your dedication and your bravery. You shall never be forgotten.

Aurora Leveroni lives in Graeagle, Calif., and wanted to be sure our local firefighters knew of her gratitude.

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  1. Kate Harper says:

    What a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to our brave firefighters. I have a brother who is a fire captain in Fremont and he came down to fight our disastrous fires in Julian in 2003. He was amazed at the outpouring of gratitude by the homeowners whose homes they were able to save. I have sent this wonderful letter to him to share with his fellow firefighters. Thank you for taking the time to express your gratitude.

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