SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A group of good Samaritans is receiving praise after knocking down a brush fire in Carmel Valley on Tuesday afternoon.
After spending all day on top of a roof, Ubaldo Lopez and his team at Palomar Solar & Roofing were on their way back to the office.
"We were going down the hill, and it started to smell," Lopez said. "At first, I thought somebody crashed, but then I saw the fire."
Many people slowed down on Carmel Valley Road as the flames crept closer. Others called 911 for help. But before the firefighters arrived, Lopez and his team pulled over and jumped into action.
"I got the extinguisher and a couple of my buddies here, they got the shovels and started putting dirt on it," Lopez pointed at his team. Right beside him attacking the growing flames were his son Damien and co-workers, Cirinio Rios and Miguel Esteban.
Although the men are not trained firefighters, they are familiar with fire. They work on what is called "torch down roofing," a process where a flame is used to melt a rubbery membrane on a flat roof to make it waterproof. So they know the dangers of what could happen if the winds picked up.
"The weather was crazy and the red flag [warning]," Lopez said. "The fire department, they've been so busy, so you know, that could have gone out of hand."
With the help of a few other good Samaritans, the team stopped the fire from spreading. Minutes later, they drove off, without knowing they would be praised for their swift actions all over social media.
"Omg that would have been really tragic had it spread," one person wrote on Facebook.
"Wow. Great effort. And saved the day," said another.
When asked about being called heroes, Lopez humbly laughed.
"Oh no, no, no," he said. "We were just lucky that we were passing by. We got to help each other."