and because LA is a small town that just looks big on tv, the captain in question lives in thousand oaks
where we went yesterday for thanksgiving
and out of all the people who he wanted to talk and talk and talk to
and yes yes yes did i have questions.
was it hot?
was it smokey?
whats the deal with using prisoners?
inmates volunteer to assist, probably because they just want to be outside and useful instead of locked up all day. but we keep them away from homes and cars, they’re not a threat to other people.
is it true that even if they fight all these fires, they can’t get jobs as firefighters once they pay their debt to society?
yes that’s true, but they can’t be cops either, or even mailmen. it’s just the rules. think about it though, your house is wide open, do you want a guy in prison for theft looking at your wallet in your unlocked house?
how many hours straight did you and your crew work.
how many casualties were there in the LA fires?
why was the paradise fire so much more deadly?
it was way faster. the wind. and in a more wooded community.
there were other firefighters at this thanksgiving. they told me that they received thanks from people like Vin Scully, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, Tony Dow from Leave it to Beaver, and Dave Grohl who cooked BBQ for the boys.
despite just finishing fighting the largest fire in southern california history, all of them were in good spirits, attentive to their kids and wives, and down to talk about anything. we watched very little football.
the captain had to eat his Rams tickets a few weeks prior because the fire broke out with little time for him to sell them.
but that wasn’t his biggest fear.
he said that being a fireman, you know youre probably gonna get lung cancer. you inhale all kinds of industrial and bizarre shit. and lots of it. all the time. for years.
and just as quickly the discussion turned to looters, which he had a story about, and how the kid was caught.
it was a lively, fascinating, very warm evening and we drove the slow way home, still smelling the ash of Thousand Oaks on our way back to the Valley.