OJAI, Calif. - An Ojai Valley family is spreading the word about the kindness of firefighters who saved their prized possessions during the Thomas Fire.
Amanda and Dustin Rogers and their two teenagers evacuated in one of their two cars during a power outage on Tuesday.
The next day, the Rogers found out the front of their Creek Road home withstood the flames but the back was badly damaged.
They decided to put what they could salvage in the untouched van they had left in the driveway.
That's when Amanda opened the minivan's hatchback and found it filled with quilts, photos and other sentimental items she could never replace.
"I went to open the back of the van and the van was packed with all those things that I thought I had lost. The firemen had gone through our house and took all the pictures off the walls and our family photos, they packed away my quilts, which some of them are handmade and given to us on our wedding day, they packed away my daughter's violin, just all those really special things that we didn't get to take the first time around," said Amanda Rogers.
"In the middle of being surrounded by fire and trying to put a fire out in a home, they take the time to do something like that it is pretty amazing," said Amanda's husband Dustin.
They found a Riverside firefighter's card stuck in their front door wreath.
She contacted the department and was told via email that crews from Carlsbad, Corona, Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands , Riverside, and Ventura County helped.
As the firefighters moved on to save other threatened homes, they talked about how good it made them feel to lessen a fire victim's pain.
While the fire spread in the attic they kept it in check and collected invaluable items.
They said they have families, too, and looked for baby books, wedding pics, handmade ornaments, and jewelry to save.
They wanted to make a positive difference during the horrendous tragedy.
Firefighters from Strike Team 6074C and Ventura County Fire Crew 12 said they talked about how rewarding it felt to do what they did.
Amanda said she "cried ugly" meaning she cried tears of joy and sadness.
"What do you say? You say thank you and you hope that they really hear the heart in it, and you tell them that what they did is invaluable an will never be forgotten," said Rogers, still in tears.
The Rogers say that they will rebuild.