TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - When a brush fire's quick-moving flames torched land and threatened wildlife near Bush Highway on Monday, two teenagers took matters into their own hands. And they tried to douse the fire in way you might not expect... with beer.
When 19-year-old Gabriel Carrillo and 18-year-old Evelyn Williams saw the fire, they say they tried calling the fire department, and even drove to the sheriff's station looking for help. But no one was there. And that's they jumped into action.
The pair was on the way to work, headed down to Saguaro Lake Ranch around 4:30 a.m. on Memorial Day. "We happened to notice a thing of smoke off to the right-hand side,” said Carrillo. He said it was about 100 yards off the roadway.
“When we had stopped, we saw the fire was not a controlled fire; it was an out-of-control fire, a wildfire,” he said.
“We drove down to the sheriff’s station, which was a quarter mile down the road, and there was nobody there... We turned around and took it into our own hands," said Carillo. "We are protecting private land; we are protecting the homes that are about two miles back, and Salt River access, Saguaro Lake access, and all the fires that have burnt out our area."
"We are tired of seeing it happen," continued Carillo. "We just used what we had, which was our hands and our feet. We started kicking dirt."
After more than an hour, they say they brought the fire to a smolder. But with no water, they worried the embers with would reignite. Thankfully, a man on his way out to the lake with his boat stopped to help, and he had a 30-pack of beer with him. So they all proceeded to pour the beer over the smoldering ground, dousing any possible hot spots.
“Started putting it on the fire, started dumping it in cactuses and bushes, under the trees, because it had spread quite a while,” he said.
The pair isn't even old enough to drink beer yet. But they were thankful to have it on hand. “I wasn't thinking I’m a hero," Carillo said. "I wasn’t thinking we were doing this for anything else. We are doing this because it is saving our job, it’s saving the road that gets everyone out to the river to have fun, and it’s saving the homes that are behind us."
When the two finally made it to work a few hours later, they said they were quite ill from all the smoke they had breathed in, and they were sent home for the day.
They passed by the site of the fire again Tuesday morning and say it was as they left it, with the homes around it in no more danger.