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calendar   Saturday - October 28, 2006

California Burning

The last time I checked it was still burning and one of our regular readers here, The Squiggler, has been blogging the fire from her smoke-filled living room. Go check out her coverage of Kalifornia going up in smoke ...

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California On Fire
BEAUMONT, Calif., Oct. 27 (NY TIMES)

The five firefighters of Engine Crew 57 did what they had been trained to do. Spotting great licks of flame nearing a modest house on Thursday morning, they jumped from their truck and began cutting brush and hosing the building. But then the wildfire did what wind-driven blazes can do: it exploded from a bowl-like gully with deadly ferocity, according to fellow firefighters close to the scene.

There was no time to run, no time to duck into the fire shelters the crew members carried. By the time other firefighters reached them, the Esperanza fire, as the blaze in Twin Pines near here is called, had done its work. The four other United States Forest Service crews watched helplessly from up on a ridge nearby as the engine crew disappeared in the smoke and flames.

Officials say they believe the fire was intentionally set. “It blew up like a fireball,” said Pat Boss, a friend of the crew’s captain and a public affairs officer for the Forest Service in Idyllwild, where the captain lived. “They did not see it coming.”

Three of the firefighters died at the scene. They were Jess McLean of Beaumont and Jason McKay of Phelan, who were both 27 and had been in the Forest Service for several years, and Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20, a seasonal worker from San Jacinto on his second tour of fire duty.

The captain, Mark Loutzenhiser, 44, a 21-year veteran and a father of five known for coaching youth sports, died later at a hospital. The fifth crew member, Pablo Cerda, 23, a seasonal worker who lived in Fountain Valley, was in critical condition with burns over almost his entire body.

- More at the NY Times...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 10/28/2006 at 08:24 AM   
Filed Under: • Crime •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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