Idyllwild Garage employee Dan Crabtree was the first “unofficial” responder on-scene as the Tuesday, April 7, Cranston Fire was just beginning to grow. The 10-year Pine Cove resident said he noticed smoke from the small brush fire while he was driving. He pulled over, concerned that the fire had the potential to grow into something larger and very dangerous. He grabbed the fire extinguisher from his tow truck and hiked up the 60 to 80 feet from Highway 74 toward the growing fire.
“When I got there the fire was about 20-by-20 feet,” he said. When he pulled over, there had been another man parked with his car in the pullout and a short county school bus. “The other guy asked if I had another fire extinguisher and I told him I didn’t.” Crabtree said he thought the guy would go to the school bus and see if there was one there, but he apparently did not.
Crabtree said when he got to the blaze, he emptied his extinguisher and put out half of the fire. “If I’d had one more person with an extinguisher we could have put it out,” he said. Realizing there was nothing more he could do, he said he called 911 and was told the fire had already been reported. “I wish I could have gotten it out,” he said. “It was starting to cook.”
When told he was being thought of as a hero, he demurred saying, “I think anyone would have done the same thing. Anyone would have tried to help.”