Some San Diego-area firefighters who joined the fight against destructive fires burning across Southern California returned home Friday.
Among the local firefighters helping our neighbors to the north was a crew from Coronado that was deployed in Los Angeles and Ventura counties for more than a week.
“It was very emotional; I saw a lot of tragedy and loss,” Coronado Fire Department firefighter Nathaniel Diaz said. He’s only been with the department for seven months.
“We did mop up, taking care of hot spots, making sure there was no rekindles with fire, making sure there were no flare-ups as well,” he said, explaining his crew’s duties while fighting the Woolsey and Hill fires.
“It hit very close to home for me, because it’s very sad, seeing them dig through old pictures, find whatever they can out of basically nothing,” he said.
Fellow firefighter Nate Ramos tells said his crew had to be re-routed several times during the firefight because flames advanced and cut them off.
“The fire behavior we saw the first day was some of the more active fire behavior I’ve ever seen in my career and I was on the Witch Creek fire back in 2007,” Ramos said.
The firefighters said one of the worst parts about their time up north was seeing so many homes destroyed.
“A lot of the days we were there we were just offering support,” Ramos said. “If we were driving around and saw someone digging through their house, we stopped and offered assistance.”
Ramos and Diaz’ strike team was part of a larger crew made up of 22 members from all over San Diego County, including San Diego, Lakeside and Chula Vista.
Source: NBC San Diego