Tuesday, September 1, 2009

California Wildfire's. Please Read.

The South has hurricanes,,North Dakota down to Texas has their tornadoes and California has Wildfires. I am unaware as to how many fires there are now since a lot of them have broken off from the originals into their own. The fire I am talking about is the station fire. It started on August 26th and is estimated to be contained September 15th and it doubled in size Sunday night and has had an estimated damage costing $7,671,000.00 along with burning 122,000 acres and has made the sky above my house gray even in the afternoon. This fire killed 2 brave fireman One which I had the honor of meeting a couple years ago. His name was Arnie Quinones and he was married to my 8th grade History teacher.
The first time I met him she had brought him in to talk about his job as a specialist with the fire department. I noticed that as he talked you could just see how proud she was of him I had met her the year before when I was her TA and I always remember her desk being filled with pictures of them. They had just been married the year before I was in her class. I saw him a lot throughout that year, he was always bringing her flowers, taking her to lunch or just stopping by to say hi. All the girls had a crush on Mrs. Q’s husband. Mrs Q was a very lucky woman but she was so nice she deserved to have this great man be her husband. You see Mrs. Q was always encouraging us in whatever we did and although she was very nice never let us slack because to her we all had so much potential to be great people and that’s exactly what we needed The year had ended and the last day of our class she had wished us well and told us we were gonna do great things and I noticed a big red bouquet of flowers on her desk (whatta guy he was).
2 years later I ran into them at a store in our mall they reminded me of 2 teenagers the way they would hold eachothers hands and just smile everytime they looked at eachother. We exchanged hellos and talked for a while before saying bye. That was the last time I saw them. Yesterday I was into my moms house with pictures of my old middle school on the t.v. “A teachers husband died in the fire” my cousin said. “It was mrs. Quinones’s husband” my sister mel replied. My heart sank to the bottom of my body. I sit down to have my other little sister say to me that they were expecting their first child together in 3 weeks As she said that I saw Mrs Q’s house and the old principal talking to the press. I felt so bad for her. I cant imagine what she is feeling right now and all anyone can do is say sorry and pray. Arnie was a hero Here is the story from Witnessla.com

Firefighters are, by definition, heroic. But in some cases, the heroism is more direct.1. We know that Sunday night Los Angeles County Firefighters Arnie Quinones and Ted Hall, both experienced firefighters–Ted a 26-year veteran of LACFD, Arnie a specialist—were killed. We think it happened when a ferocious and fast-moving tongue of the Station fire overtook their vehicle causing them to go off the road. Or maybe it was the smoke that blinded them. Investigators are not sure sure. What is completely clear is that they plunged down an 800 foot embankment, and the engine truck flipped, landing upside down. What we also do know is that just before Hall and Quinones got on that fire-haunted road, they helped to save the lives of 58 other men, and that they were on that difficult road trying to find a route to safety for those same 58 men when the fire in some way caught up with them.In short: this is a hero story.Both Don Hall and Arnie Quinones were known to be ardent family guys. Quinones’s wife was pregnant wife and due to give birth to the couple’s first child within a few weeks. The soon-to-be-father was thrilled. Hall was married with two sons–ages 20 and 21—whom he adored.
Hall and Quinones were one of a handful of LA County firefighters stationed at Gleason to provide supervision and training for the 105 inmates who were assigned to the camp. 1. On Sunday, August 30, about half of the Mt. Gleason inmates were already deployed out in the field fighting the various Southern California fires. (According to the CDCR, there are 2,245 firefighting inmates working on fires up and down the state.) But 55 of the inmates plus three CDCR staff were still back at the camp.They became trapped when suddenly the Station fire began coming straight at the Mt. Gleason camp itself.If a fire has the right combination of fuel and wind, it can move faster than a man can run. On Sunday the winds were not the problem. But the fuel was. So as the Station fire came fast toward Mt. Gleason, there was no way to escape it. Hall and Quinones and other LA County firefighters stationed with them, calmly directed the 55 inmate firefighters and the three CDCR staffers into the cinder-block dining hall, which they deemed to be the only building likely to survive the coming conflagration.It was a good choice. The fire passed over the cinder block structure, but only barely. As soon as they could, Hall and Quinones moved the group out of the dining hall into a large parking area, which was about the only part of the camp that was now not actively burning. Yet, fires are volatile and so it was agreed it was necessary to get everyone out of Mt. Gleason camp altogether as soon as was humanly possible. With this goal in mind, Hall and Quinones took off in one of the engine trucks, intending to check out the narrow, winding Three Mile Road to see if it was a viable route to safety. We know now, of course, that they did not find a safe road out. Instead the fire found them.Eventually, the rest of the 57 men were able to somehow make their way down the mountain and out of harm’s way. In the meantime, Camp Gleason burned completely to the ground, with it, the inmates’ very few possessions—pictures, letters and the like. But at least they were still alive.Once safe themselves, the inmate firefighters learned to their horror that Hall and Quinones —their respected coaches, teachers and the men who had kept them from harm—did not survive.

As i read this my heart is heavy for both their families especially my old teacher. I can’t imagine how excited they were for their first child ( they’ve been trying for 9 years to get pregnant) and to have the birth be so close only to have this tragedy happen. I ask everyone that reads this to please say a prayer for Larissa as she is about to give birth to their first child who now will have to do it without her wonderful husband Who no doubt is a hero and who one day can tell theyre child what a HERO he was. God bless.

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