Firefighter: Colorado wildfire ‘almost surreal’

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 8:32 EDT
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Firefighters work to stop a blaze in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo: Screenshot via The Associated Press.
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According to one of the men on the front lines, fighting the Colorado wildfire can be “almost surreal” at night when all there is to see and hear are the homes of fleeing residents going up in smoke.

“As a firefighter, you look at a structure fire, a house fire like this, going up, and it just stabs you in the heart,” Colorado Springs firefighter Steve Schopper told The Associated Press this week. “Firefighters don’t like to see structures going up, they don’t like to see foundations left. That’s not our job. Our job is to protect that property.”

More than 600 homes have been destroyed in Colorado amid two of the worst blazes the state has ever seen, and roughly 350 are in and around the Colorado Springs area. Schopper claimed they averted an even worse scenario on Tuesday after making a tough stand and preventing the fire’s spread into a neighborhood where hundreds more homes may have been destroyed.

“Had they not made a stop on that fire right there, they would have lost 195 homes,” he explained. “It’s almost like being in a war zone. You’re hearing explosions — propane tanks from people’s BBQ grills and whatever else they have in their garage, cans of gasoline. You’re hearing those kinds of explosions. You’re hearing a lot of weird noise on top of just the sound of burning trees and burning houses. It’s almost surreal, but this is not a movie.”

This video was published by The Associated Press on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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