Monday, October 22, 2007

The last to leave Del Dios

Posted @ 1:35 PM

Stan Smith and Ken Morris were two of the last people to leave the Del Dios area today near Lake Hodges ahead of the advancing Witch fire. But before they left they decided to rescue two horses that belong to a neighbor.

"If I left and came back later and found they were burned, I couldn't live with that," Morris said.

Morris and Smith coaxed the two horses from the corral with handfuls of oats and reassuring pats on the horses necks. They alternately whistled and spoke soothingly to the animals as they led them from the coral.

After tying the reins to the back of Smith's pickup truck, he slowly back away, leading the horses from danger.

Morris said he was determined to stay for the sake of the horses despite the mandatory evacuation orders.

"I'd hear the loud speakers, duck down and have another beer," he said.

They made the rescue effort on a hill on the north side of Lake Hodges, and the pair could look south across the lake and see the fire moving their way. Both men said they have lived in the area for more than 20 years and seen previous fires jump the lake.

About that time, embers from the fire struck dry brush about 200 yards away. Smith and Morris worried because they had no way to transport the horses if the fire came towards them. But luckily, the wind shifted -- sending the fire away from the men and the horses.

– Dave Hasemyer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful story and I want to commend the courage of the folks in rescuing their neighbors' horses. I hope both two legged and four legged ones involved reached safety. There are a lot of examples of people really pulling together courageously.

No. CA resident (former SD resident)