Proud of Andes firefighters

in

To The Editor:
It was the Sunday evening before Labor Day and I was just finishing the last strokes of paint
on the shutters. We heard turkeys gobbling in the distance, as if they were warning us that something was about to happen. I could hear the thunder and lighting and it started pouring.
We went downstairs and all of a sudden heard an explosion. It was so loud that the house shook. When the rain stopped we walked around the house to see where the lighting struck but didn’t see anything.
We started taking pictures of the newly stained house and then my partner said there’s
smoke coming out of the one of the trees. We didn’t pay much attention but about 15 minutes later we noticed flames. My first thought was to call the fire department but our phone wasn’t working. My partner drove over to the neighbor’s house but no one was home.
By this time flames were coming out of four holes in the tree. I was standing there with a garden hose trying to put the flames out. My partner then went to another neighbor down the road and called 911.
The flames on the tree were getting big. The fire trucks finally arrived. Waiting for them seemed like an eternity. The firehouse is approximately seven miles away.
As I was standing there with the garden hose, fire chief Joe Berghammer came walking around the back of the house. He had no idea how bad the fire was. When he saw the flames he yelled to his crew, “get the fire hose!” He kept yelling to spray the flames directly on the tree so they would have enough water.
Unfortunately, my health has not been good this year so I had to go in the house. I prayed by my window.  I saw fireman David Ruff climb up the burning tree with the fire hose while wasps and hornets were shooting out all around him. He had to go up a second time with a fire extinguisher. He had no fear as he climbed the ladder several times. At one point he climbed the ladder and tied a rope to the biggest branch where the flames were coming out earlier so it would fall away from the house.
Eventually another part of the tree came crashing down on the deck. The branch was huge. It bounced off the deck and landed on the ground. The noise was so loud that a lady from the ambulance came over to see if every one was ok. The fireman thought the fire was under control but the flames started again. It took four hours to put it out.
I would like to thank all of the members of the Andes Fire Department. They are a fine crew and they work together well. The Town of Andes should be very proud of their fire department. I know I am.  

Ana Marasa,
Andes