Lindsey and Michael Jarrous spent nearly two and a half days wondering whether they’d have a home to return to. The couple had been at work when the Lilac Fire in San Diego County, California, surrounded their home. When they were finally able to return everything looked intact, at least from the outside. When they approached their front door they noticed it had been damaged.
“As we approached the front door, we saw a little piece of door missing and what looked like a boot mark,” Michael said.
The couple were looking forward to spending their first Christmas together as a married couple.
Thanks to the quick work of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department the Jarrous’s home was spared, for the most part. When firefighters arrived at their complex they noticed the palm trees were ablaze and embers had landed on the roofs of several homes, one of them being the Jarrous household.
The firefighting crew rushed into the empty home and worked to extinguish the fire burning in the couple’s attic.
“The whole house would’ve burned down—absolutely, for sure,” SDFD Capt. Matthew Praizner told NBC 7.
Although their house appeared untouched, when they got inside they saw portions were a mess.
As the couple continued to explore their home for other damage—they discovered the ceiling had collapsed in their bedroom—they discovered a note left by one of the firefighters.
It was an apology for damaging their door and leaving their home a wreck.
On their way out one of the firefighters left the couple a note.
After 2.5 days of wondering and trying to get through, we were able to drive to our house tonight for a few minutes! We knew the flames got close, but didn't know how close. We had heard it wasn't burnt down, which put our minds at ease, but couldn't wait to confirm it with our own eyes. Given the fact that the outside looked intact as we drove up, we weren't expecting to see our front and back doors kicked in and we definitely didn't anticipate what we saw upstairs. BUT we are so so so very grateful for the firefighters who saved our home! Although we have damage (like water damage and our bedroom ceiling being on the floor 🙃), we have our home! And we have family to stay with and clothes to borrow while we go through the repairing process. Thank you to everyone who has been reaching out to us with support. We feel very blessed!! #lilacfire
Ernie Valdez, an engineer with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, wrote the note after he did a final walk-through to make sure the fire had been put out.
“I just wanted the homeowner to know we did the damage for a reason,” Valdez told NBC 7. “I just decided to write them a quick note, letting them know we’re not a bunch of Neanderthals, just destroying property. We had a purpose for what we did.”
The note read, “Sorry about the door and ceiling. Had to get in there to save the home. San Diego Fire. Good luck.”
The damage could have been much worse, thankfully it was not.
Although the damage is estimated to be $65,000, which won’t be completely covered by their insurance, the couple is extremely grateful to SDFD for saving their home. They also expressed gratitude for the note Valdez left behind.
“[The note] was just really, really thoughtful,” Lindsay said. “In the midst of all the chaos, they were able to even say sorry that they damaged some of our stuff, but they saved most of it.”
The couple added the note from SDFD to their own collection of notes that they leave each other.
Every morning before Michael goes to work he leaves Lindsay a note and she does the same, it’s their way of letting the other know they love them. They keep every single one, including the one from Valdez, which Michael has folded in his wallet.
As a way to say “thank you” to the firefighters Lindsay and Michael plan on writing a note of their own.