On Friday, September 13th, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) recognized 3 local CAL FIRE NEU Captains and CDCR Lt. Ratliff for their heroic efforts while assigned to the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise. They were presented with CDCR's Unit Citation award for great courage in the face of immediate life threatening conditions.
Fire Captains's Chris Sauer, Todd Nelson, and Eric Ayers were assigned to one of the Golf Strike Teams out of Washington Ridge Conservation Camp. During the incident, the Strike Team arrived at a small shopping mall and encountered several people sheltering themselves from the blowing embers and smoke. Captains and Lt. Ratliff developed a plan to rescue the trapped citizens and protect the structures. They led their hand crews to clear around and protect several structures without any fire engines for support. The hand crews split up to ensure no embers burned the structure from the roof or walls while clearing burning cars and vegetation away from the buildings. Lt. Ratliff loaded several citizens into one of the ECT's and drove them to safety. Lt. Ratliff navigated through many dangerous situations ultimately bringing the citizens out of harm's way.