Rookie Firefighter Sees Her Home Burn Down While Fighting Wildfire
Emily Franklin didn't hesitate before throwing herself into the middle of the action on her first day as a firefighter. The 18-year-old resident of Estes Park, Colo., reported for duty as the state's epic wildfire began raging through her town, located about 50 miles northwest of Denver.
But as she was on duty fighting the flames, the unthinkable happened -- her own home caught fire and burned to the ground. It was only last week that she was formally hired, according to a report by ABC News.
"I look through the trees and see fire going under our deck, and I was like, 'I think that's my house,' " she told ABC News. "It goes up, and I was like, 'That's my house!' "
She was interviewed Thursday, just two days after losing the home she's lived in since she was born. Despite that, she appeared composed and added, "Great way to kick off a career."
Her car also burned. But even so, Franklin remained on duty, urging neighbors to turn their hoses on. She also helped direct traffic, according to Fox News. She walked away from the tragedy with a positive atitude.
"I guess anything can happen in a matter of 10 minutes. Getting out was the most important thing, so that's what we did."
Throughout the state, thousands are fleeing, some 350 homes are destroyed and at least one person is dead from a set of fires including the largest, dubbed as the Waldo Canyon Fire, which is the worst in the state's history. That fire has spread some 100 miles -- as far south as the edge of Colorado Springs, and near the U.S. Air Force Academy. (Update: An earlier version of this article said the Waldo Canyon fire spread to Estes Park. It now appears Estes Park developed its own brush fire as the state confronts the problem throughout Colorado.)
As of Thursday night, the Waldo Canyon fire was 15 percent contained, The Associated Press said. Fighting the flames has already cost the state $3.2 million, and its cause remains unknown. Officials were considering the possibility of arson. On Friday, President Obama is set to tour the state.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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