As firefighting crews battled the raging fires that began on Aug. 12 at Lake Fire, which erupted in the Angeles National Forest, some of them took a moment of pause and made a heroic rescue. However, it wasn’t a person or a pet they saved but an American flag that was still flying high despite the fiery flames.
The crew from Engine 164 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department stopped by a burning property that was destroyed by the fire and took to lower Old Glory.
“Even as we battle fast-spreading flames and dangerous conditions, our members continue to serve with respect and honor,” the LA County Firefighters Local 1014 union wrote, alongside a dramatic video that they posted in a tweet.
The video, which was posted on Twitter in the early hours of Aug. 13, shows the firefighters making their way through still-burning piles of rubble left from a burnt-out building to a flagpole, where they carefully lower and recover the flag.
Unsurprisingly, this moment of patriotic devotion has since gone viral, with over 56,000 views, demonstrating the appreciation felt by California residents and many others for the firefighters’ resilient spirit.
Some took to the comments section to praise the firefighters for saving the flag. One social media user wrote, “Thank you @LACOFD for rescuing Old Glory and for everything you do every day.”
While another wrote, “Thank you for your service and for saving our Flag from destruction with reverence and honor. God bless and keep you all safe.”
The “Lake Fire,” which sparked in the Angeles National Forest near Interstate 5 on the afternoon of Aug. 12 and that began due to an unknown cause, quickly advanced to the town of Lake Hughes about an hour-and-a-half drive from Los Angeles.
At the time of writing, an Incident Report from the Angeles National Forest explained that “[t]he Lake Fire is currently 19,026 acres and is 38 percent contained with 4,570 structures threatened.”
The affected areas are under mandatory evacuation orders and the report adds that the fire “remains over 8 miles northeast of Interstate 5 and south of Highway 138.”
Complicating firefighters’ efforts to contain the blaze has been severe heatwave and gusty, circling winds.
Additionally, for the flag-saving firefighters of Engine 164 and the dozens of other crews battling the blaze, the National Weather Service has issued an “Excessive Heat Warning” for the Antelope Valley area below Lake Hughes lasting until 9:00 p.m. on Aug. 20, making things much harder.
Despite the tough battle ahead of them, the 3,000 plus members of Local 1014 are fighting on from the air and on land.
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