A homeowner with a personal road grader is being hailed as a hero by neighbors who say he protected homes from approaching flames.
The property owner, who did not want to be interviewed, used his own road grader to plow dirt to bury a line of flames on the northern flank of Monday evening’s fire near Meridian and Blaney Roads south of Falcon. The grader owner, named Larry, is a former firefighter with decades of experience in fighting wildland fires. "I tend to talk to him every time we see a fire that’s in the area, and this one seemed awfully close," said neighbor Christopher Jaskoski. "I gave him a call, talked to him for a couple minutes, and before you knew it, he was trudging down the road in the grader."
Shortly after sunset Monday, a switch in wind directions sent the roughly 300-acre fire racing northward toward several homes off Meridian Road. Larry drove his grader to the northern flank of the fire and lowered his plow to turn the top layer of soil over on top of the advancing flames. "At one point, he was running an east-west line, keeping if from hitting those three houses," Jaskoski said.
Larry’s heroics come as no surprise to neighbor Betty McNeil Scott. "He’s very honest. He’s willing to help people when they need help," she said. "If you call him and say, ‘Hey, I need this, something is going on,’ he’ll be there immediately," McNeil Scott said.
Neighbors tell News 5 they consider Larry a hero for his quick thinking and decisive action. "Anytime you’re putting yourself in harm’s way for the good of other people, that’s pretty much the basis for that word," Jaskoski said.