The Inferno of La Cruz

Thursday, 17 January, 2008

Our rig came off the ship at 6:20AM on Sunday, 14 January.
We had a chance to partially inspect the rig later that day and knew it was damaged, perhaps destroyed. We sold our house to clear the decks for these years of travel, so this meant we may have lost our home. It was a quiet ride back to the hotel.
Back in our room I wandered out onto the balcony to listen to the waves, watch the sunset and contemplate things.
The vista was flawed by the one thing that strikes mortal fear into anyone from San Diego, a raging wildfire in the densely populated hills above Valparaiso.


Over the last few days the local TV news and papers have been filled with coverage of the fire, dubbed by the media the "Inferno of La Cruz."

In total 88 homes were destroyed and over 350 people made homeless. One woman died of burns over 90% of her body. A volunteer fireman is still in critical condition after being crushed by a burning tree. (All the firemen in Chile are volunteers.) Many local residents were burned as they rescued family members or fled the flames.
Yesterday we asked our guide, interpreter and friend, Jorge Valdes, to take us up to the area to see if there was anything we could do to directly help those impacted.
Today, we visited the neighborhood.

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16 thoughts on “The Inferno of La Cruz

  1. donnie glenn

    Sorry to hear about your rig being damaged. Hope you can get things squared away. Keep the faith. Donnie G.

  2. Adam Hackney

    No way man, the rig took a beating en route. Man that sucks. Then again when you have people homeless and wounded from fire next door, a damaged rig is definatly not the same end of the world. I hope it’s salvagable and you guys will be able to keep moving. Good luck and travel safe.

  3. Marcia Stewart

    I am very sorry to hear that your rig has been damaged and hope it can be repaired so you can continue your journey.
    I know, Steph, you have been reading a lot of spiritual readings. Maybe this is God’s way to communicate to all that you share your news with that we have a lot to be thankful for. If your rig was fine, you may not have taken the time to investigate the aftermath of the fire to experience and share the miracles you found along the way. I wish you both well and thank you for adding to our spiritual lives as well.

  4. Ron Baker

    One of my father’s favorite sayings was: “I had no shoes and complained; until I met a man who had no feet.”

    I try to remember this old saw whenever something unfortunate happens to me or my family. It sometimes helps put things in perspective.

    Keep us posted.

  5. Joyce Elder

    If there is anything we can do remember you have friends and family that want to help. We would if you were homeless…let us know. Keep the faith. Stay in the light. Joyce

  6. Jan

    Doug, thanks… I was able to read about the fire. I did not realize the rig was so badly damaged. After your last email story about the restaurant in the alley I thought this was another STORY. So Sorry. The pictures of the fire looked familiar. We spent 2 weeks working in Chincha before the 07 Earthquake and now see similiar pictures of the Chincha region.

    My fracture is improving..there is nothing like not being able to walk. Things are better.

    Jan and Dennis

  7. Tom Thomas

    We are very sorry to hear the news about the rig (and the victims of the unfortunate fire). When things beyond your control go wrong, the only thing you can control is your reaction to them. I have complete faith in your reactions. Doug & Steph…I don’t know anyone more resourceful. Be Safe, stay positive. Tom & Marie

  8. sissy

    Maybe these fires are following you two!!!! More about the rig please. I was glad to hear that you two were ok. Be well, love barb

  9. andy goldfine

    My thoughts are with you. How can I help you?

    Your fire photos are powerful and you are a blessing. Take care,


  10. Cj Soliz

    I knew I should have gone with you on this trip.I hope everything works out for you and the rig.Its very sad to see those people lose everything and I pray to “God” that he will bless them with everthing they need.God bless and have a great trip.Send more pics

  11. Patty

    Doug & Steph:

    You two are very resilient and I know you will find a way to come through all of this, somehow richer for having had the experience. Stay safe and continue to look for opportunities to grow. You continue to provide inspiration to so many of us. We love you and offer safe harbor when you need it! Patty & Ron

  12. Troy B. Daum, CFP

    Doug and Stephanie,

    It seems as if The Inferno of La Cruz may have helped keep things in perspective when you had to face the difficult circumstances of seeing your damaged rig.

    It is truly amazing how people and communities are often heroic in the face of disaster. It is horrifying to see the consequences of a catastrophe yet wonderful to experience peoples resiliency when recovering from ruin. We’ve certainly have seen that with two devastating fires, over the past five, years in San Diego.

    It gives you faith in a higher power. It helps you realize what is really important. At some point you realize that life has little to do with the things we accumulate. Rather our time here is defined by intangibles such as: thoughts, experiences, memories, pictures, stories and relationships, with those close to us. These are the things that give life real meaning.

    Your story helped me appreciate those important lessons today. For that I thank you!

    It is sad to start your journey faced with damage to your home and surrounded by people facing tragedy. I am hopeful that you will be able to repair what is broken; be able to look ahead at all that is good. Yours is a journey that helps fill our lives, here at home, with the wonders of life, through your travels. Keep traveling, keep meeting the world’s people, keep the faith, and most of all keep sharing.

    From this point forward I hope that the wind will be at your back and your sails full. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Warmest regards,


  13. Lauren & Barbara

    Not surprisingly, in spite of your setback, you two look to see how you can help others. What a miracle you two are! Good things happen to good people. We hope and pray your setback will be minor so you can continue your dream. May the Higher Power bless you.


  14. Doug

    A sincere thank you to everyone for your messages of support.

    We are OK.

    The rig is currently being repaired and we plan to pick it up Monday AM.

    I’ll post more as soon as I can.

    Be well,

  15. kim Countryman

    Doug and Stephanie
    I am grateful both of you did not suffer the same fate as your “home”. As Joyce said, there are always friends and family that will help. I use your stories in my practice to encourage others. Let us encourage you.
    Our prayers are with you.