December 13, 2017
A blackened wedding ring recovered from the ashes of their lost home symbolizes a new beginning for Southern California wildfire survivors Julie and Don Myers.
The Ventura County couple was forced to flee their home when the fast-moving, wind-whipped fires tore through their neighborhood.
When fire officials allowed them to return to their property, Julie and Don found their home and all their possessions reduced to a smoldering heap of ash and rubble.
The couple did maintain one glimmer of hope, however. Somewhere in the rubble was a fire safe that contained a few important possessions, including Julie's original wedding ring. Don had given her a new ring to commemorate their 25th anniversary and the original ring had been put away for safekeeping.
After sifting through the ashes with the assistance of local firefighters, Don was able to find the safe. Everything in the safe was "unrecognizable," according to Julie, except for her slightly charred ring.
In a spontaneous expression of his love, Don got down on one knee and used the original ring to propose to Julie all over again.
The ring represents a fresh start for the couple — a symbol of their resilience and a brighter future.
How the ring survived in the fire safe has a lot to do with the temperature of the wildfire blaze and the performance of the safe. Although the blaze was likely as hot as 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, an average fire safe can protect its contents up to a temperature of 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even without the safe, the gold and diamond ring may have survived because the melting point of the precious metal is about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and the ignition temperature of a diamond is about 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. (Yes, diamonds can burn.)
The Thomas Fire that destroyed the Myers' home is one of six fires that have consumed 1,000 structures in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The footprint of the fires is larger than the cities of New York and Boston combined, reported CNN.
Credits: Images by Julie Myers.