October 19, 2017
Kris Pond cried uncontrollably as she surveyed the still-smoking rubble on the property where her home once stood. Her Santa Rosa residence was one of nearly 6,000 obliterated by the catastrophic wildfires that have been tearing through Northern California since October 8.
An ABC News crew caught up with Pond and her husband, Mike, as they searched the ashes for her most beloved possession — a diamond engagement ring.
Despite the dangerous conditions, reporter Matt Gutman assisted the couple for more than an hour in what he termed an "exhaustive archaeological dig." Her shoes melted and the reporter's hands burned, but still they came up empty.
Gutman filed his heartbreaking report about the couple, but then was surprised to get a call from a cheerful Mike the next day.
Kris and Mike hadn't given up their search. They had returned to the site and found not only the elusive engagement ring, but also a second diamond ring that had been gifted to them by an uncle.
Gutman was able to deliver the good news during his in-depth followup report for ABC's Nightline.
The Ponds told ABC News that they are thankful for the help and kindness they have received during this difficult time. What's more, the unlikely discovery of the diamond rings offered a much-needed symbol of hope as they look to rebuild their lives.
The Northern California wildfires are some of the deadliest in California's history. More than 40 lives have been lost and 30,000 people are still evacuated from their homes.
Credits: Screen captures via ABCNews.go.com.