A Pair of Hands in the Dark

Northwest  |  January 25, 2019

Original Author: Zhang Jin Bao(Zhu Bin) 

By Jonathan Van Lamsweerde

When she was picked up by a pair of strong hands, in the pitch dark she thought God was coming to take her. It wasn’t until she was carried into the fire truck and looked back at her flame covered home that she started to realize the firefighters had saved her life.

Pushing her way through the crowd, she wrapped her arms around her husband, who had just escaped. They called their daughter, who was out shopping at the time of the incident. When they heard their daughter’s voice, she couldn’t help but burst into tears.

By Jonathan Van Lamsweerde

Later on when she told her story to the volunteers at the Disaster Relief Center, she couldn’t help but cry again. The blazing red fames, the dark thick smoke, the burned down homes and the reunited families–everything happened in a blink of an eye. She had to cry out the grief. Tear stains diluted the smoke on her face. “Nothing is left,” she said in a weak and desperate voice.

Seeing her husband and daughter sitting next to her, she wiped away the tears from her cheek. The volunteer who sat across the table walked over, looked in her eyes, and gave her a warm hug. Her shivering body gradually calmed down.

This is a just one of the many voices of those impacted by the Camp Fire.

The victims came to the Disaster Relief Center, sat in front of the volunteer’s desk, and told him their stories–stories of one forest fire after another, all of them painfully burned onto his heart. But he had to hold back the tears and record the unfortunate families in his computer.

The volunteer looked at the man who had just lost his home to the wildfire, and couldn’t help but reach out to hold his hands. When the man opened his palms, it was smoke black and dark red, a reminder of his encounter with the fire. He can still feel the burning hot flames on his skin. Tears gathered in his eyes. This is a just one of the many voices from the flames.

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