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He Did Not Look Back

Last July the nation’s deadliest forest fire blazed up all at once, like the roar of a tornado. Unable to escape, 14 firefighters were killed.

But Brad Haugh managed to survive. At about 2 p.m., Haugh and his partner broke for lunch. As he opened a can of Beanie Weenies, the pull-off ring on the lid broke. Haugh pulled out his knife and cut the lid off, a procedure that delayed by about five minutes his return to work. Later, he would conclude that those five minutes might have saved his life by slowing his descent down a ridge.

At about 3:30 p.m. the out-of-control fire raced toward Haugh. Scrambling through the brush, he reached the ridge top. He started to turn around to look back at the fire, but remembered how Lot’s wife had turned to look at Sodom and Gomorrah. Twenty minutes later he reached safety.

Today in the Word, March 14, 1995

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