The firefighters in the Taylor Bridge Fire have been working long hours to save lives and save property. One of them kept working the fire zone, even though his own home was destroyed.
Aaron Hamilton, 20, is a graduate of Seattle’s Ballard High and a college student whose summer job is with the helitack crew, fighting fires with the Department of Natural Resources.
“Get to be outside, work hard, challenge yourself - a break from the academic world,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton was living on a friend’s property in the wind farm along Highway 97. On Monday, when the fire broke and started spreading east quickly, he knew that property and all of his belongings were at risk.
“Listening to the radio traffic I knew that the fire was spreading that way and reaching that point,” said Hamilton. “Then I got a phone call from the family friend that there was fire on the property.”
Within an hour, he learned everything of his was gone, yet Hamilton stayed on the job.
“In hearing it was burned down, there was not a whole lot I can do. It's happened. That’s done. I stayed out on the line to continue to help,” said Hamilton.
When Hamilton finally went home, he found nothing could be saved. Certainly, it’s not the same loss as a family home with all its history, but a setback nevertheless.
“It was frustrating and upsetting, but I was safe. Material things were lost, but they're replaceable,” he said.
Hamilton said the loss is humbling and has allowed him to relate more to the public he serves.
“You feel for the people a little bit more, because you're experiencing the same situation they are,” said Hamilton. “It does make it a little more personal.”
Friday was his last day on the job before he heads back to college. He said without a doubt, he’ll be back next summer.
KING 5's Elisa Hahn and Liza Javier contributed to this report.