DAYTON - Volunteers from the Chief Cliff Volunteer Fire Department are beginning to reflect on the events of last week while battling the Elmo Fire.
“It's our homes our houses our livelihoods, and stuff like that. So, it was it's really been intense like an adrenaline high for this whole week. Just trying to get everything done and protect everything and everybody and our neighbor's place and your place. And then your neighbor's place and your place,” said Chief Cliff Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Ben Adams.
The volunteers were some of the first people on scene the day the Elmo Fire started, right in their backyards.
“It's scary. It's really scary. You know, it's never gonna happen in your backyard. You know, it's never gonna happen right here. It's never gonna happen to your neighbors. But here, it did,” said Adams.
When Adams arrived at the fire, just a few minutes after it had started, it had already blown up. The flame lengths were already reaching 15 to 20 feet and the wind had picked up.
“You want to do something but it's like it's to the point where you can just basically just watch it, you know, and it's just really humbling. And you know, it's hot. I mean, low visibility, lots of smoke. It's, the smoke, it's choking,” said Adams.
With the fire being in their community, the volunteers were able to use the knowledge of the weather and the landscape to their advantage. The firefighters had to evacuate their neighbors and friends, not knowing what would happen to their homes.
“You know, I was really close to home. I mean it threatened my home, my family's ranch, stuff like that, my neighbor's houses. I mean, there's a whole bunch of us in the department it was right in our back door coming across here. So, it's it's been a pretty emotional week and stuff like that because it was right in our backyard or in in our homes and stuff like that, you know? And we all lost a little something over it,” said Adams.
Containing this fire took collaboration from a lot of local departments and the aerial crew. The volunteers are tired from the nonstop events of the past week. Many of them have not seen their kids and families and have property damage of their own to worry about.
“Most of us haven't got a lot of sleep since this thing started so everybody started to come down, relax. We got our trucks in today and washed everything and kind of got together and had a meal here all together, kind of came together and started talking and kind of recovering,” said Adams.
Now, the volunteers must get back to their jobs and begin restoring what was lost.
“Get back to getting our lives put back together and it's going to take a little while,” said Adams.
The firefighters would like to thank everyone who donated and cooked meals to help get them through this battle. The departments used a huge portion of their funds and would appreciate any cash donations.