REDDING, Calif - "You know that night of the fire its hard to describe really how crazy that night was it was like a war zone," said Redding Fire Chief Cullen Kreider.
The Carr fire hit Shasta County six months ago, but to law enforcement officials who were fighting the flames and protecting our community day in and day out, some images remain vivid in their minds.
"I remember at one point in the Sunset West Subdivision we had multiple homes burning, we were taking shelter from the heat," Kreider said. "I mean I had a radio in one hand I had my phone in the other and I actually had a guy tap me on the shoulder and I turn around and he's an elderly gentleman standing in this firestorm."
For Redding Chief of Police Roger Moore, this fire was personal.
Not only was it affecting his community and his neighbors but the ravaging fire also destroyed his home.
"You know once I knew my house was burned, the anxiety of 'will it burn? Will it not burn?' was over," Moore said. "So I was able to kind of put that behind me and move forward."
But despite knowing his home was gone, he never missed a beat to keep his community safe.
"It's one of those things that first responders do," Moore said. "They kind of just put it on autopilot and you know."
On the fire department's side, beloved fire Chief Gerry Gray had just died of a heart attack, leaving the team without a leader.
That's when Chief Kreider stepped in.
"It was quite an interim period and really experienced stuff most chiefs really don't have to in their career," Kreider said. "So really it was trial by fire."
With every fire, there is the potential for human loss and the department felt heartbreak once again when fire inspector Jeremy Stoke was killed in the fire tornado.
They say that one of their own was taken too soon.
"If you could just imagine trying to fight a fire, evacuate our citizens, protect structures and then all of a sudden now we're searching for our colleague," Kreider said. "It was the most difficult night I know for all of us."
Heartbreak, loss, and confusion took over the city for weeks.
Now, six months later, the city of Redding is seeing the light as rebuilding efforts take shape and both departments are working to be even stronger for their community.
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