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Firefighters Working To Protect Ronald Reagan Presidential Library


IT HAS BEEN A ROUGH MORNING FOR YOU. WE HAVE SEEN A LOT OF CHANGE. CARA, CAN YOU TELL US WHERE YOU ARE AND HOW ARE THINGS? Reporter: JUST A LOT OF TIME, THIS FIRE HAS BURNED UP ON ALL SIDES OF THE PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM. WE WERE TOLD TO MOVE OUR VAN, WE NEED SHELTER IN PLACE UP HERE. I WANT TO GIVE YOU LOOK AT THE FLAMES OR SMOKE JUST BELOW US. ALL YOU CAN SEE THE SNOW, STRONG WINDS BLOWING AND THIS FIRE AGAIN HAS MOVED UP BUT THEY HAVE STAGED AGGRESSIVE, IMPRESSIVE WATER DROPS AND BEEN ABLE TO BEAT OUT THE FLAMES A LITTLE BIT. THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MUSEUM JOINS US. WE ARE ON THE LEGEND WINDSS ARE WHIPPING UP AGAIN. YOU SEE HOW CLOSE WE ARE TO THE MUSEUM HERE. THIS IS THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MUSEUM, THE BIG FLAMES COMING UP ON THE BACK. TELL US ABOUT YOUR CONCERNS AT THIS POINT. WE ARE NEXT TO WHERE AIR FORCE ONE IS KEPT. LET’S WALK TO THE BACK AND SHOW YOU OTHER VANTAGE POINTS FROM THIS PARKING LOT AT THE TOP. TELL US WHAT YOUR CONCERNS ARE. RIGHT NOW THE FIRE IS ENCIRCLING THE AIR FORCE ONE PAVILION WHERE AIR FORCE ONE SITS. IT IS A NATIONAL TREASURE. HOPEFULLY THE HEROES OUT HERE AND HELICOPTERS AND TRUCKS SURROUNDING THE LIBRARY DOING A MAGNIFICENT JOB. SO FAR THE LIBRARY HAS BEEN PROTECTED BUT WE ARE SURROUNDED ON ALL SIDES BY THE FIRE. Reporter: I KNOW YOUR CURATOR, I SAW HIM EARLIER, GOING TO THESE DIFFERENT STRUCTURES CHECKING ON THE ARTWORK AND THE OUTSIDE ARTWORK AS WELL. THIS IS RONALD REAGAN ON A HORSE RIGHT HERE. A FAMOUS STATUE OF PRESIDENT REAGAN ON A HORSE, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WOULD CONCERN US, WE SHUTDOWN ALL THE VENTILATION SYSTEMS TO TRY TO PREVENT SMOKE DAMAGE FROM ENTERING THE MUSEUM AND HOPEFULLY THAT IS HOLDING AND DOING ITS JOB. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THE AIR INSIDE THE MUSEUM STAYS CLEAN. Reporter: LET’S MOVE CLOSER AND SEE THE FIREFIGHTERS WHO HAVE PULLED OUT SOME HOSES AND BEEN BATTLING THIS AND DIFFICULT FOR US TO SEE ANYTHING BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH SMOKE. WHAT IS THE LAST WORD YOU GOT FROM THE SERGEANT? TO SHELTER IN PLACE BECAUSE WE WON’T BE LEAVING THIS LIBRARY ANYTIME SOON BECAUSE THE FIRE IS ENCIRCLING WHERE THE ONLY ENTRANCE IN AND OUT IS RIGHT HERE AT THE TOP OF THE HILL SO THE FIRE HAS INVADED EVERY HILLSIDE SURROUNDING THE LIBRARY AND MAKES AN INTENSE SITUATION. Reporter: YOU HAD A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES HERE. DID MOST OF THEM EVACUATE? WE WERE ABLE TO REACH THE EMPLOYEES AND VOLUNTEERS BEFORE THE LIBRARY WAS TO OPEN. THE FIRE STARTED EARLY ENOUGH THE WE REACHED THEM TO ENSURE THEY DIDN’T TRY TO MAKE IT TO WORK TODAY. IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE ANYWAY BECAUSE THE 23 AND 8118 ARE SHUT. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO GET NEAR THE LIBRARY AT THIS POINT. Reporter: ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONCERNS WITH THE LIBRARY IS MEMBERS PICKING UP AND POSSIBLY IGNITING THE LIBRARY. THE SOUTHWEST ARCHITECTURE, WOODEN EAVES THAT RIM THE ROOFTOP AROUND MOST OF THE LIBRARY AND THE CONCERN IS THIS HIGH WOULD THROW HIM BURR’S UP ON THE OTHER SIDE. THAT IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF THE SITUATION. Reporter: HEAVY SMOKE AND SOME FIRE HOSES HAVE BEEN LAID OUT. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD ABOUT THE FIREFIGHT? I DON’T SEE AS MANY AIRCRAFT. THEY MIGHT BE GETTING MORE WATER TO COME BACK. THE HELICOPTERS ARE ROTATING, THEY HAVE BEEN ALL MORNING LONG. THEY ARE BATTLING THE BLAZE AS IT GETS CLOSE TO WHERE WE ARE STANDING AT THE MOMENT. THE FIREMEN ON FOOT SEEM TO BE WANTING TO PREVENT THE FLAME FROM COMING TO THE PARKING LOT. THEY ARE DOING A GOOD JOB OF IT. Reporter: YOU AND A SMALL NUMBER OF YOUR STAFF ARE HERE AT THIS POINT. JUST A HANDFUL, FOUR OR FIVE SENIOR PEOPLE JUST TO MAKE SURE WE DO OUR BEST TO KEEP THE BUILDING SAFE AND FOR SURE KEEP OFF THE HILL. Reporter: I WANT TO GET YOU A MASK BECAUSE THE SMOKE IS CRAZY AND YOU ARE COVERED WITH THAT. HOW ARE YOU HOLDING UP? I’M FINE. YOU SEE THIS ON TELEVISION OFTEN AND TOLD HOW HEROIC THESE FIREMEN AND FIRE WOMEN ARE. WHEN IT STEERS YOU IN THE FACE, THAT IS AN ABSOLUTE TRUTH. THESE ARE JUST TRUE HEROES WHO ARE SAVING THE LARGEST AND MOST VISITED TREASURE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES IN THE UNITED STATES. Reporter: I MENTIONED TO OUR VIEWERS TO SHELTER IN PLACE HERE BUT FIREFIGHTERS DO FEEL THEY HAVE GAINED HOPEFULLY CONTROL OF SOME OF THESE FLAMES BE LEAVING IT WILL BURN UP TO THIS LARGE AREA THAT IS SURROUNDING THE MUSEUM WHICH YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN SMART ABOUT CREATING A SPACE THAT HELPS PROTECT THE MUSEUM SHOULD THE HILLSIDES START TO BURN. EVERY YEAR WE WORK WITH THE FIRE DEPARTMENT TO IMPORT SEVERAL HUNDRED GOATS. THEY DO THEIR JOB, THEY EAT AWAY AT THE BRUSH SURROUNDING THE LIBRARY AND THEY DID THEIR PART BECAUSE THE BRUSH, THE FLAMES WERE HIGH, THE BRUSH HAS BEEN KNOCKED DOWN ENOUGH SUCH THAT IT HELPS THE FIREMEN DO THEIR JOB TO KEEP THE FLAMES ANYWHERE, KEEP THE FLAMES AWAY FROM THE BUILDING. Reporter: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT. YOU CAN SEE WITHIN THE LAST 15 OR 20 MINUTES THIS FIRE ALL THE WAY UP, THESE RIDGES, IT WAS INSANE TO SEE, SUCH THICK BLACK SMOKE THAT WE HAD TO GET INTO OUR VAN AND GET OUT OF IT BECAUSE YOU COULD SEE NOTHING IN FRONT OF THE FACE AND THE WINDS WERE SO STRONG BUT FIREFIGHTERS CONTINUING TO WORK SO HARD.

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