Many Northern Nevada firefighters are happy to be home tonight. After a week of battling the California blazes, they got the green light to return to their families.
I was at Fire Station One when Engine-One returned to Reno from San Diego. I found the mood to be somewhat of mixed feelings.
Definitely relief to be home but these guys love their jobs, and would be fighting the next fire if the need was there.
What a feeling for firefighter Sean Brown - to be hugging his daughter, a week after saving other people's families threatened by the Cedar fire.
"She's heavy but it feels good," he says.
The four-member crew had been away from Fire Station One in Reno, since it was called into action last Monday night. After driving all day and with no sleep, they saw what they were up against.
"I wish all of you could see it. TV doesn't do it justice when you see a flame front coming out you," said firefighter Jeff Voskamp.
Engine-One was assigned to Julian, California - protecting four homes in immediate danger of the blazes.
They were all feeling good about the progress they were making, when suddenly firefighters heard the sad news . . . one of their own had died.
"We're all a brotherhood even though it's different departments - we're all brothers," says firefighter Tony Fong.
In honor of Steven Rucker, the crew wrote his name on its engine with the words "may the fallen find peace and their survivors find solace."
Firefighters say that best described what everyone was feeling.
Says Capt. Bob Griswold: "I'm happy to be home but would go back if the need was there."
Engine-Oone was one of 1,200 engine companies working the Cedar fire. The crew says everyone fighting that fire deserves a lot of credit for making an impossible mission, possible.
Engine-one isn't the only firefighters happy to be home tonight. We had more than 200 firefighters from Northern Nevada on the front lines in California, including our own John Tyson from the Air National Guard.