Justin, the Hero
Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of Redheaded Blackbelt nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.
On July 21st our power went out as it does frequently living in a rural area. A call was made to PG&E and they assured us a technician would attempt to restore power when available. Now like I mentioned we live in a rural area so we had no real hopes our lines would be checked anytime soon. To all of our amazement a technician from Fortuna arrived swiftly and was greeted by my son on our property. He introduced himself as Justin, he was polite and seemed very knowledgeable.
After a few minutes he left to check the expansive lengths of power lines through the treacherous forested area where the outage originated.
We all went about our day of preparing for an actual scheduled power outage that was planned for the following day. We had food to put in coolers, generators to get started and so on. None of us were thinking of catastrophe was about to be avoided.
Suddenly my father and daughter saw this PG&E technician back on our driveway running toward them out of breath. He quickly asked for water. HE HAD FOUND A FIRE! A tree had fallen across the power lines freeing live, sparking wires into the dry forest floor and had ignited a dead stump. My father quickly refilled Justin’s 5 gallon galvanized water pump container from our properties fire prevention water storage tank. With his water pump full Justin was off in a flash.
My father and daughter found buckets to fill of their own and followed behind quickly. His truck was easy to find parked along side the road of our country forest lined road just a few bends from our home. Off the road in the dense woods that have been plagued with standing dead tan oak smoke billowed to the sky. Leaves and trees began to pop and crackle from the heat. Justin was no where in sight but his efforts could heard. He emerged from the dense undergrowth sweating asking for more water. With his request granted he gallantly returned into the forest.
By this time word has spread through our mountain homes and our community began to arrive on the scene with assistance and even a privately owned water truck driven by Dan Hrynkiewicz. Justin continued to surmount the hillside now with hose water, giving direction to others arriving among them my 14 year old son Griffin until the fire was put out.
Helicopters and fire trucks arrived to squelched flames. Justin, although exhausted, remained to check the area for any more threats to the forest that surrounded all of our homes.
Battling flames in a forest of dead timber might have been more than enough for a day at work for most but Justin selflessly volunteered to return to the area later that night to finish the job of restoring power!
Although Justin may be noted for putting out a smaller fire, I would like to mention small summer fire grow quickly. That very small fire was on its way to become a threat to countless acres and numerous homes, including mine. Without Justin’s bravery to rush up that burning hillside again and again much would have been lost!
When I look out my windows into the lovely view that is the Humboldt County forest, I have one man to thank and truly call a HERO, a PG&E technician named Justin.
Resident of Alderpoint Rd.