Couple return home to find house damaged—then see apology note from firefighters

After firefighters put out the Lilac Fire in San Diego, a newlywed couple returned home to find their house intact on the front but damaged inside, with the ceiling in one of the bedrooms having collapsed. While looking through the damaged home, they found an apology note from the firefighters—which left them feeling so grateful.

In December 2017, firefighters from San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) were working hard to save the homes that were caught in the Lilac Fire, and one of the homes saved belonged to newlyweds Lindsey and Michael Jarrous.

Lilac Fire destroys homes in North County (Credit: YouTube Screenshot | ABC 10 News)

“As we approached the front door, we saw a little piece of door missing and what looked like a boot mark,” Michael told WTHR.

As they looked through their home, they saw a note left by the firefighters apologizing for the damage.

The note wrote, “Sorry about the door and ceiling. Had to get in there to save the home,” and was signed off by “San Diego Fire,” with a “Good Luck.”

©Video screenshot | Liftable

“They were 50 to 60-foot Mexican palm trees on fire. They were spitting embers and palm fronds everywhere. That was, in turn, catching yards on fire, houses on fire, burning our firefighters on the neck—everything,” SDFD Captain Matthew Praizner told NBC 7.

Lilac Fire Aftermath: Homes Charred (Credit: YouTube Screenshot | Times of San Diego)

When the firefighters got to the Jarrouses’ home and kicked open the door, they noticed the Christmas decorations in the home.

“There was so much love and warmth in the house,” he said. “And we said, ‘We will do whatever we possibly had to give Christmas to these people.’”

After putting out the fire, the house was in a mess, and Ernie Valdez, an engineer with SDFD, noticed it. “The mess we left from our boot prints, to where the hose line was dragged through, to the roof falling on their bedroom furniture,” he said.

©Getty Images |  Jostein Nilsen/EyeEm

At that moment, Valdez decided to leave a note for the homeowners.

“It was just something I did out of the split second,” he said. “It was a quick note. I just wanted the homeowner to know we did the damage for a reason. I just decided to write them a quick note, letting them know we’re not a bunch of Neanderthals, just destroying property. We had a purpose for what we did.”

The couple were greatly touched by the firefighters’ efforts and courtesy.

Lilac Fire burning across a freeway in North County, San Diego, on Dec. 9, 2017. (Credit: Wikipedia | Cal Fire)

“I was really touched. The fact that they made a strong effort to preserve our home; this is the place for us,” Michael said. “We’re just grateful.”

“(The note) was just really, really thoughtful. In the midst of all the chaos, they were able to even say sorry that they damaged some of our stuff, but they saved most of it,” Lindsey added.

The couple, who had already been writing notes to each other as a way to say “I love you” when the other person is not around, have been keeping each other’s notes—and are definitely going to be keeping the note from Valdez.

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