California firefighters managed to save an American flag and a 9/11 mug from a burning home during the recent Coastal Fires, and now the residents want to thank them for their efforts.
At a glance
- A wildfire in Southern California’s Laguna Niguel community destroyed over 20 homes and forced evacuations for thousands of residents
- Firefighters managed to save an American flag and commemorative 9/11 mug from one home, prompting thanks from the displaced residents
- Early evidence indicates some sort of electrical issue may have contributed to the fire, but investigations continue
The Strohman family returned to the shell of what was their beautiful Laguna Nigel home after fire officials lifted the evacuation orders. Earlier last week, about 900 homes fell within the mandatory evacuation zone due to the Coastal Fire. On Friday, that remained at 131 homes.
The Strohman’s see the salvaged American flag as a “sign” to rebuild from the fire
Terri Strohman clutched the recovered flag tightly, thankful to have the patriotic item as a symbol of hope.
“We are very patriotic,” Terri Strohman said to Fox News. “It’s a sign,” said her son, holding back tears.
According to the Orange County Fire Authority, the Coastal Fire has destroyed at least 20 homes and damaged at least 11 others.
While the cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation, Southern California Edison (SCE) said “circuit activity” occurred “close in time” to initial reports of the blaze.
“Our information reflects circuit activity occurring close in time to the reported time of the fire,” the power company said in their incident report. The utility provided no other details; and admitted that a report was only submitted “out of an abundance of caution.”
According to SCE, the fire qualifies as an event that “may meet the subject of significant public attention and/or media coverage reporting requirement.”
California fire season now spans most of the year due to the dryness of the ground
Orange County Fire Authority Assistant Chief of Field Operations TJ McGovern would not release any specific details when asked.
“Our fire investigators are looking at that (circuit activity) right now. And they’re going to look at all aspects of what could have caused this devastating fire,” McGovern said. “We don’t have the specifics, but our investigators will be looking at every possible cause.”
Orange County Fire Chief Brian Fennessy said a brush fire like this used to peter out naturally quite easily with the help of a little water. Not anymore, it seems; officials and scientists have all admitted surprise to how quickly wildfires now move throughout California.
“The fuel beds in this county, throughout Southern California, throughout the West, are so dry. So a fire like this is going to be more commonplace,” Fennessy said. “We’re seeing spread in ways that we haven’t before. Five years ago, 10 years ago, a fire like that might have grown to an acre, couple acres. [Now], fire is spreading in this very dry vegetation and taking off.”
McGovern added that Orange County has already seen four substantial fires this season, months away from “peak” season.
“We don’t have a fire season [anymore]. It’s year-round now, and these last four fires that we’ve had just proved it to all of us,” he said.