COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. – All firefighters from Oregon are now back home, now that containment on the Thomas Fire in California is improving.
Lane County Strike Team 1 made its way back to the South Lane County Fire and Rescue Station in Cottage Grove early Wednesday afternoon.
Crews were helping fight the Thomas Fire for 16 days. The team consisted of firefighters from Lane Fire Authority, McKenzie Fire and Rescue, Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue as well as South Lane Fire and Rescue.
Firefighters said their time in California was grueling, but the most difficult part was when they heard one of their own lost his life in the line of duty.
"The way that we addressed it was we got together as a crew, we addressed the circumstances," said Scott Bishop, chief of Eugene Springfield Fire Department. "First honor the fallen brother, and then we addressed it from the perspective of what happened and how we can make sure we don't have something like that happen again and do our best to ensure that it doesn't."
Strike Team 15, another crew from Lane County, also made it back home. They arrived at the Goshen Fire District Wednesday night.