Napa men credited with saving neighborhood from raging fires using bulldozers

Saturday, October 14, 2017 11:59PM
As flames moved in fast and furious Sunday night in Napa threatening dozens of homes in the community of Browns Valley, two men immediately jumped into action.


NAPA, Calif. - As flames moved in fast and furious Sunday night in Napa threatening dozens of homes in the community of Browns Valley, two men immediately jumped into action.

Nearly a week later, Dan Wynn showed the spot where his battle began.

The fight that night was against the Partrick Fire. Their weapon - bulldozers.

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"This is right behind us all, a wall of flames and you," Wynn said. "Don't have a lot of time to think. It's like stop it now, or that neighborhood behind us is going to go," Wynn said.

As the heat and smoke intensified everywhere, Cal Fire officials shifted to saving lives.

"I asked him, 'where are the Cal Fire dozers?' And he said, 'all resources are being used right now,'" said Wynn.

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With no help on the way, Dan and his boss Eli stepped up to protect their community. They communicated by cell phone as they used their bulldozers to dig critical lines.

"From what we are looking at here, it goes down four miles. It was completely on fire at the exact same time," said Wynn.

There were several close calls but adrenaline kicked in. "What you don't notice is by looking at these lines is it was so hot. So hot my hair was singed," said Wynn.

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Dan, a former marine, learned how to cut fire lines in the military.

"This is the difference a dozer and that's why they use them in fires," Wynn said.

Browns Valley neighbors are so thankful for Dan and his boss's work to save this neighborhood. Neighbors set up a GoFundMe and raised $3,000 to reimburse them for fuel. But they refused to accept any kind of payback."If that equipment wouldn't have been here, this line wouldn't have been here, then that fire would have been in that neighborhood," Wynn said.

He says they'll likely pay it forward and give the money away. His payback is seeing a community still standing and untouched by disastrous wildfires.

Click here for full coverage of the North Bay fires.

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