Man who called in White Pine Fire speaks out

Near Hornbrook, Calif. —  The White Pine Fire near Hornbrook is now 75% contained.

“I had seen the smoke over there, and it kind of started coming this way about to come over the hill,” said Chris Beckham. Beckham is a Hornbrook resident, and the person who called 911 about the White Pine Fire on Tuesday.

“We had just gotten home, and I was getting ready to do a transmission oil change on my truck,” he said.

Those plans changed when neighbors came passing through in a panic.

“I jumped in my truck, drove up there and looked, and I saw fire really close,” he said.

He said he knew he had to act fast.

“From there, I went and got cell signal and made the call,” he said.

Within a couple of hours, flames were up and down this hill. The closest the fire got to the nearest property was around ten feet.

“Trucks coming up in about 10 minutes. They were on – the helicopters, the planes,” he said.

Fast-forward 24 hours, and the fire is 75% contained, but it still gave Beckham anxiety.

“It spooked me a little bit. I packed up all my stuff and got ready to go,” he said.

And even though Beckham may be the person to thank for calling emergency crews in time. He said ‘hero’ is not in his vocabulary.

“I’m glad I’m able to be of public service in some way – that’s all,” he said.

That’s all. Doing his part.

“It ain’t an ego thing, you know. By far,” he said.

He said he’s just trying to be a good man, a good father, and a good neighbor.

“All I’m trying to do is raise my son and do right and do right by those around me,” he said.

And he says this means something larger than just this fire.

“It’s kind of some of the things that america forgot. Kind of some of the things that america forgot -to just stand up, do what you can do. Step forward,” he said.

Cal Fire said the cause of the fire is unknown. It said the fire stayed within the 45 acre-perimeter of vegetation. No one was harmed, and no property was damaged.

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