Ripley Lane in Paradise, California, was completely destroyed, as was the entire town with few exceptions. Only a few buildings escaped, and the death toll for the fire stands so far at 42, the worst in the history of the state, according to Fox. But one thing still stood after the inferno tore through the community of only 27,000: Old Glory.
At least 2,000 homes went up in flames within a day as the raging Camp Fire roared through town at the rate of one football field per second. Elk Grove Police Department was driving through the ruins of the town, looking for survivors when they came upon a sight right out of the National Anthem: a flag pole with the Stars and Stripes still intact.
Our officers were driving down one street where every house had been leveled, nothing left, except a flag pole that was standing with flag in almost perfect condition. Our officers documented the address and secured the flag in hopes to return it to the owners one day. #CampFire pic.twitter.com/JDiOWnwqD7
— EGPD (@ElkGrovePD) November 11, 2018
“Once the situation stabilizes in Paradise and things calm down a little bit, we’ll try to work with the city there, and public records or however we can do that to try to locate the owners. We documented the address and we’ll try to figure out who the rightful owner is.” Officer Katie Cooley, Elk Grove PD
One of the officers who found the flag said it was an eerie sight like something out of “Armageddon.”
The police post of the discovery garnered its share of flag haters, but the vast majority were amazed. Some stated they were hoping their own flags had somehow survived. Firefighters have often rescued the flag from flames, but this one stood alone above rubble.
The cause of the Camp Fire is under investigation, but with only 30% containment thus far, it is still growing. PG&E reported malfunctions in some of its equipment close to the start of the fire, according to Mercury News.
Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Lyrics to the National Anthem