The Inferno of La Cruz

Thursday, 17 January, 2008

Our rig came off the ship at 6:20AM on Sunday, 14 January.
We had a chance to partially inspect the rig later that day and knew it was damaged, perhaps destroyed. We sold our house to clear the decks for these years of travel, so this meant we may have lost our home. It was a quiet ride back to the hotel.
Back in our room I wandered out onto the balcony to listen to the waves, watch the sunset and contemplate things.
The vista was flawed by the one thing that strikes mortal fear into anyone from San Diego, a raging wildfire in the densely populated hills above Valparaiso.

Over the last few days the local TV news and papers have been filled with coverage of the fire, dubbed by the media the “Inferno of La Cruz.”

In total 88 homes were destroyed and over 350 people made homeless. One woman died of burns over 90% of her body. A volunteer fireman is still in critical condition after being crushed by a burning tree. (All the firemen in Chile are volunteers.) Many local residents were burned as they rescued family members or fled the flames.
Yesterday we asked our guide, interpreter and friend, Jorge Valdes, to take us up to the area to see if there was anything we could do to directly help those impacted.
Today, we visited the neighborhood.

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