At 10:30 p.m. on October 15, Cade Boeger saw the Cherokee, California, fires ruthlessly race up the hillside and surround his ranch on Table Mountain. Gusting winds at 50 miles per hour pushed the menacing flames closer and closer to the Boeger’s home and he knew they didn’t have much time.
“The intensity of the fire and the way it was moving was just unbelievable I’ve never seen anything like it,” Boeger said. “You wouldn’t have been able to outrun it if you’d been on foot. ”
The father of four immediately evacuated his family.
Just as he was driving away to take his family to safety, he saw something devastating and inspiring at the same time.
His ranch was being devoured by the unforgiving flames but not without a fight—CAL FIRE firefighters showed up to rescue his home. Boeger said the moment he saw firefighters pull up on his driveway was the “greatest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s better than anything you’ve ever seen.”
But the Cherokee, California, family didn’t expect the firefighters to go above and beyond and rescue more than just their home.
After Boeger delivered his family safely to his parents’ house—which had also been saved by firefighters just moments before they arrived—he went back to the ranch to help out the crew and rescue his horses.
When he got there, he didn’t think his ranch would survive and prepared for the worst.
“I just wanted to have something to look back at later,” he told KRCR News 7.
So he shot this video of the fires engulfing his ranch.
That’s when he saw the one precious item he needed to rescue but couldn’t.
His 15-foot American flag was snapping wildly in the wind and Boeger knew it’d be torn to pieces by the wind or destroyed by the flames. He didn’t have time to save it and it was already far too dangerous to retrieve on his own.
But Cal Fire firefighters were one step ahead of him.
Boeger said he doesn’t remember much else of the night and morning after that, but when he went back to his house at 3:30 a.m. the following morning, he was surprised and relieved to see it still standing.
Then he walked inside his home and saw his 15-foot Old Glory neatly folded and respectfully placed over his couch.
“I just stood and looked at it with tears of gratitude in my eyes. What kind of people were these? Save a man’s home and family and then that? Just the best kind.” Boeger wrote in a Facebook post that’s gone viral.
“When you feel like you could lose everything you’ve ever worked for—to come home and just see somebody who…you know it blew me away. It impressed me so much. I really have a hard time expressing it.” Boeger told KRCR News 7.
Watch the interview here:
UPDATE: The Boegers tragically lost their home on October 18, 2017, due to another fire according to a report by KRCR.