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San Bernardino homeowner thanks Orange County firefighters who helped community after storm


Crews with the Orange County Fire Authority went above and beyond during the recent storms to help people in San Bernardino mountain communities.

Nearly six dozen Santiago and El Toro hand-crew members answered the call after record-breaking snowfall had people cut off and in despair.

One homeowner shared her gratitude in a reunion over Zoom.

"There's no words to express what the guys did out there," said Tina Watson.

Watson feared her deck would fall right off her home from the weight of the snow. She knows others were in much worse shape - elderly neighbors with no gas, firewood, electricity or working phone lines.

"There's so many in that community that their life depended on you guys digging them out and they have not been able to reach out to you and that's one of the reasons why I wanted to reach out," said Watson.

Many of these firefighters are just starting their careers. Operations Chief Tim Perkins is proud to hear of their humanitarian efforts.

"I think this will be one of those events and incidents that they remember throughout their career," said Perkins. "It's not too often that we go and look for people in the snow."

They're used to fighting wildland fires, but adapted well to the new environment.

"We had our own tools that we use to construct hand line on the hillside so we were using those tools that we typically use fighting fire for digging out driveways," said crew member Scott Gorman. "We just needed those snow blowers to assist us because of the work load."

Though machines help, it's those operating them who brought the smiles.

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