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Firefighter leaves note apologizing about mess after saving home from fire

“I just decided to write them a quick note, letting them know we’re not a bunch of Neanderthals just destroying property,” firefighter Ernie Valdez said


By FireRescue1 Staff

SAN DIEGO — A firefighter left a note apologizing for damaging a door of a home they saved from a wildfire.

NBC San Diego reported that a San Diego Fire Department crew saved the home of Lindsey and Michael Jarrous from the Lilac Fire, and firefighter Ernie Valdez said he wanted to let the couple know what happened.

Firefighter Ernie Valdez said he wanted to let the couple know what happened after saving their home from a wildfire, but leaving a mess. (Photo/SDFD)
Firefighter Ernie Valdez said he wanted to let the couple know what happened after saving their home from a wildfire, but leaving a mess. (Photo/SDFD)

“Sorry about the door and ceiling. Had to get in there to save the home,” the note read. It was then signed “San Diego Fire,” with “Good Luck” added at the end.

“It was just something I did out of the split second,” Valdez said. “It was a quick note; I just wanted the homeowner to know we did the damage for a reason. 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.”

SDFD Capt. Matthew Praizner said they kicked in the door after seeing the embers of the fire overwhelming the property, and the first thing they noticed was the holiday spirit inside the home.

“There was so much love and warmth in the house,” Capt. Praizner said. “And we said, ‘We will do whatever we possibly had to give Christmas to these people.’”

Valdez said the rooftop collapsed in a bedroom due to the weight of the water, but the firefighters worked quickly to extinguish the blaze, and it wasn’t until the final walkthrough that Valdez noticed the mess they made.

“The mess we left from our boot prints, to where the hose line was dragged through, to the roof falling on their bedroom furniture,” he said.

That’s when Valdez wrote the note and left it in their living room.

“We are so so so very grateful for the firefighters who saved our home!” Lindsey said in an Instagram post. “Although we have damage we have our home! We feel very blessed!!”

Michael said the note touched him so much that he now keeps it in his wallet.

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