KYBURZ (CBS13) — Throughout the fight against the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County, we have heard stories of courage, with community members stepping up to do what they could.
John Lucia is a quiet, unassuming guy living along the quiet stretch of Highway 50 in Kyburz.READ MORE: Video Released Of Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting Of Tahoe Park Resident Who Shot At Authorities
“Samuel Kyburz picked out where the sawmill was going to be, where gold was discovered. He was this key guy in California history but nobody knows about him,” Lucia said.
Th history buff made history himself last Wednesday night as the Caldor Fire raged across from where he lives on the American River. Crews were scrambling to fight the fire. That’s when his neighbor called from England, asking him to start the pumps along the water’s edge.
“He said ‘Do you know anything about pumps?’ And I said I don’t know. And he said ‘I have confidence you can take care of it,’ ” Lucia said.READ MORE: Coroner Identifies Passenger Killed In Wrong-Way DUI Crash On Highway 99
Lucia remained calm under pressure, clearing debris from the pumps and setting up a water tender station for fire crews.
Lucia’s neighbor—an epidemiologist—is a bit of a survivalist who had installed an underground suppression system and pumps in the river.
“Vietnam vet—POW—he was a smokejumper, and I think of all the things he talks about that’s what he is most proud of,” Lucia said.
It was all built just in case—and that just in case was just in time. Crews filled up for days until Lucia directed them to another draft point at Camp Sacramento in nearby Strawberry.MORE NEWS: Looting Suspect Accused Of Dozens Of Thefts Arrested In South Lake Tahoe
“I said ‘You can back your trucks right into that fjord and you can draft and fill these things up in about six minutes instead of 15 because I can’t supply the water because I’ll be coming up too far and I have too far a line, ‘” Lucia said.