Firefighter Grant Newnom saved his girlfriend's parents' home from being burned down after a grueling 60-hour shift.
The wildfires in California are still blazing, threatening the homes and livelihoods of thousands of residents. One day, firefighter Grant Newnom had just completed a 60-hour shift battling the fires and was on his way home when he received a frantic call from his girlfriend Elise Jones. She said that a wildfire was posing a threat to her parents' home. She was enjoying a Sunday dinner with her parents when the family received the call to evacuate. Rather than leaving the family to fight it out on their own, Newnom, who had his firefighting gear in the back of his car, rushed to help them out. Despite working an extended shift, he saved the day, CNN reports.
For Jones, it was just a regular Sunday night until the family's phones all shut off at the exact same time. Her boyfriend added, "They looked outside and they could actually see the glow [of the wildfire]." The family's home, located in Santa Rosa, was being threatened by what is now knows as the Glass Fire. This particular wildfire is a rapidly-moving blaze that has burned about 42,600 acres since Sunday alone. It has unfortunately forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate in the wine country of Napa and Sonoma Counties. The blaze has, in addition to this, destroyed 80 homes and dozens of other minor structures. On Tuesday, CalFire claimed that the fire was zero percent contained.
When he received the call from his girlfriend, Newnom had just completed an extended shift. Regularly, he would only work for 48 hours at a time. However, due to the nature of the situation, he stayed on an additional 12 hours to help out his fellow firefighters. He knew he had his firefighting gear in his car. Therefore, he rushed to Jones' parents' home straight away even though it was an hour and a half away. As soon as he got to the household, he got to work. He began by moving the woodpile, debris, and other flammable materials away from the house. Then, he used his chainsaw to cut down trees that could have been a potential threat.
Soon enough, a Santa Rosa Fire truck arrived at the scene of the wildfire. Though he was not planning to stay on, he decided to do so anyway. Newnom shared, "I wasn't planning on sticking around and facing the front of the fire by myself." The house, which has a large driveway, was one of the last places on the road with just enough space for a firetruck to turn around if the firefighters needed to plan an escape in a hurry. The fire captain informed him, "If this is your girlfriend's family home then this is where we're gonna stand and fight." The team got together, took out their hoses, and started fighting back the fire; it had crept to within a few feet of the home.
Now, Newnom said, the house was safe. "The house is on an island of burnt moonscape," he explained. Sadly, not all the homes in the area were as lucky. The firefighter said he saw a couple of structures in the neighborhood burning down. At present, California is under a state of emergency, as declared by California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday night. This fire season is the worst the state has experienced in its history; it has produced five of the six largest wildfires.