In a video that has gone viral, two Virginia firefighters raced to salvage an American flag from a fierce fire at a local Moose Lodge.
As the building burned to the ground on Thursday, Hopewell Fire Department’s Donny Hunter and Timmy Cibula worked quickly to save the flag just outside the building. Hunter said it was a very quick choice to save the American flag after it fell from its pole, but he thinks “it was the right thing to do,” WTVR 6 News reported.
After seeing the Moose Lodge’s flag fall from the pole into the roaring flames, Hunter said “the American flag and the Virginia flag were probably getting close to the same fate.”
In the video, Hunter lowers the flag with assistance from Cibula. Firefighter Jamie Bridgeman assisted the two by spraying them with the fire hose for protection from the intense flames.
Hunter, the department chief, said, “We took the opportunity to go up and save the flag as kind of a symbol of hope,” Fox News reported.
“I saw chief going to get the flag and we work as a team. I’m not going to let our fire chief sit there and do that by himself,” Cibula said.
The firefighters were also able to save the Virginia flag, which was not shown in the video.
Hunter said that feedback he and Cibula have received for their brave actions has been overwhelming.
Cibula said, “The flag means a lot to us especially in the fire service, we’re based on tradition.”
The pair was emotional when they were able to hand the flag back to the Lodge 1472 governor, Brian Carpenter. The building had been home to the lodge for more than 60 years.
“It was actually pretty touching. It was a little bit emotional. To give him that symbol and to see their appreciation, it did mean a lot. It was actually a pretty touching little [moment], it was very informal. We just folded it up half way decent out of respect and carried it over to him,” said Hunter.
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) March 2, 2019
Hunter said, “One as a symbol of the country. Two as a symbol to them to hopefully bring back to them some piece of the building that we were actually losing in the firefight. The Moose is an important part of the community and we were truly hoping to give them something back as part of the Moose. They’ve done a lot for us.”
He added, “It’s kind of neat for little old Hopewell, a 10.8-square-mile department being all over Facebook, social media, and all of the sites that are out there. It is kind of neat. It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s pretty exciting also.”