Rescues, not firefight prove emotional for firefighters

CHICO, Calif. (AP) — The fire that leveled the hillside town of Paradise and claimed at least 23 lives roared in so fast that for the first 24 hours, there was no firefight at all — just rescues.

Firefighters mostly had to watch Paradise burn around them; the opposite of what most are used to doing.

Cal Fire Butte County Unit Chief Darren Read paused to gather his emotions Saturday as he told firefighters that they got their “butts kicked” during Thursday’s initial fire.

But he said firefighters saved the lives of thousands of people in their communities.

Firefighter Thor Shirley says it was constant round-robin trips pulling people from homes and those trapped on the road.

His crew rescued people who were bed-ridden, three nurses, a doctor, a sheriff’s deputy and a California Highway Patrol officer.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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