Rather than blame the couple, residents devastated by the Carr Fire chose forgiveness over anger, and their extraordinary gestures may touch your heart.
The Carr Fire, one of the most destructive wildfires in California history, reportedly started on July 23 because of a flat tire on an elderly couple’s trailer.
As the wheel’s rim scraped against the asphalt, it caused sparks, which in turn is believed to have ignited the deadly fire that has destroyed at least 1,077 homes and has claimed the lives of three firefighters and five civilians—including two children and their great-grandmother.
One can hardly imagine the agony of guilt the elderly couple suffered over what happened.
Redding resident Rachel Pilli didn’t know the couple. But when she visited The Gathering Church one Sunday, she learned from a firefighter that they were his mother’s neighbors.
Knowing the man’s wife was blaming herself for what happened, Pilli wanted to give the couple a card to cheer them up.
“If I were the one responsible for the accident I couldn’t imagine the shame and the torture I’d feel,” Pilli told Redding Record Searchlight.
Heavy #carrfirestoriesAdmin: We personally know someone who's mom is a neighbor to the man who's trailer accident led…
In hopes of collecting more well-wishes cards, Pilli posted a heartfelt plea on Carr Fire Stories Facebook page.
“Many of us have been praying for this man, 81. I learned that his wife is blaming herself for the Carr Fire because she asked him to take the trailer in the first place. She has been crying day and night on her couch. They live several miles away from Redding,” she wrote.
The next morning, Pilli was moved to tears when she saw the overwhelming response.
A California couple got a flat tire and their trailer's rim scraped the road, starting the Carr Fire that killed at least 7 people. Here are some of the messages people affected by the fire are sending them pic.twitter.com/UF0I3mieeM
— Faith M. Karimi (@FaithMKarimi) August 15, 2018
“Please don’t cry anymore. It isn’t your fault,” one wrote.
Another commented, “I pray God will bring both of you peace in your hearts and minds.”
Hundreds of messages kept pouring in, then cards…
In the end, Pilli received about a hundred cards, and gifts!
“I think the fire has caused us to look into each other’s eyes and discover the human kindness in us,” Pilli said.
It’s truly incredible to see people coming together to extend grace and compassion for the elderly couple.
May the kindness of the community heal the couple’s pain in the aftermath of the disaster.
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