Firefighters from the Glendale and Los Angeles fire departments received a hero’s welcome on Friday from students at Glenoaks Elementary School, showering the first responders with thanks for battling last week’s 45-acre brush fire in Eagle Rock.
Posters and a banner of thanks plastered the front of the school, located at 2015 E. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, as the campus held a special thank-you ceremony for the firefighters. The school sits directly in front of the hillside that caught fire last weekend.
Also on hand to show their gratitude were Glendale City Councilman Vartan Gharpetian as well as Glendale Unified School District Supt. Vivian Ekchian and school board president Jennifer Freemon.
Daniel DiMundo, Glenoaks’ principal, said the firefighters belonged in a group of careers that he considers “sacred,” which also includes teachers, police officers, nurses and doctors.
“I think about what could’ve happened in this canyon,” he said. “And just watching the work and sacrifice these men put into saving the canyon, and not just the school but the homes.”
DiMundo called the firefighters life savers for their commitment to extinguishing the blaze and, in addition to messages of thanks, the first responders were also handed packages of Life Savers candy.
Glendale Fire Battalion Chief Brian Julian told the students he and his fellow firefighters were honored to be at the school and that they were just doing their jobs.
“What really makes it special for us is when you invite us here and show the appreciation you have,” he said. “It really takes that to the next level for us in our jobs.”
Lafayette Carter, a captain with the Los Angeles Fire Department, echoed Julian’s sentiments and added that the firefighters will do “whatever we can and put our lives on the line for you.”
After the ceremony, several firefighters from Glendale took down the posters and banner to take them back to their station.
The incident, dubbed the Colorado Fire by authorities, began in the late afternoon of Aug. 25 in the 2900 block of West Colorado Boulevard. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation it grew to the point that it prompted a mandatory evacuation of the Glenoaks Canyon neighborhood and a shutdown of the interchanges for the 2 and 134 freeway.
The fire eventually reached 100% containment by Tuesday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. No buildings were damaged during the incident and the only injury reported was a Glendale firefighter who suffered a minor back strain after he fell while responding to the incident.