The Kincaid Fire

Hannah Chapman

Have you ever been worried about your family? Wondering if they are safe?

Unfortunately, I have.

When you grow up in California, you get used to the fact that fires are pretty common. 

Just two years ago, for example, a fire demolished a town close to mine. But, even when you’re used to it, you never expect it to happen to you. 

Up until a few months ago, that’s exactly how I felt.

But, I had to learn it the hard way. 

There was another fire, the Kincade Fire.

This time, it wasn’t the people in the neighboring town who were impacted; it was my family and my town. 

All of this happened while I was at college at Presbyterian. I felt so helpless. 

The only thing I could do was hope for the best and wait by the phone.

And if it wasn’t for a broken leg, I may have been right there with them. 

Coast To Coast

You see, I started my collegiate career at San Diego Mesa College, a two-year school fairly close to home. Initially, I didn’t think I’d be playing volleyball after high school, but well, plans change sometimes.

Towards the end of my two years, there was a showcase to sort of “audition” for bigger California schools to transfer to. But, literally right before the showcase, I fractured my tibia, and obviously couldn’t participate.

I was angry. After all, this was my shot to show what I could do. The uncertainty of not knowing what would happen next was hard on me. Honestly, I thought my career was over.

After the showcase, I sat down with my coach who advised me to look for schools outside of California. She had a similar path to mine and told me about opportunities on the East Coast, specifically in the Carolinas.

I hadn’t really considered schools on the East Coast, but I decided to might as well take a look.

I went in with an open mind about where my new path would take me and today, I’m so grateful that this mindset led me to Presbyterian; a school I fell in love with.

But, this also meant I had to move all the way across the country, leaving my family behind.

This is what led to the situation described above. 

Being so far away from them made the situation with the fire so much more stressful.

Waiting For That Call

I learned about the fire one morning when I got an alert on my phone.

“Normal,” I thought. Fires seemed to be popping up daily in the area.

However, later that day, I got a notification that my family was being evacuated.

This obviously got me concerned. Very concerned. I texted my mom to see if she was okay and find out what was going on.

At first, she didn’t respond, which freaked me out, of course. Not to mention, this is all happening on a gameday, so I am already a bundle of nerves.

She called me literally right before I was going out for warm-ups.

Everything seemed fine, but because my mom is a trauma coordinator, she couldn’t just leave. She was in charge of getting hospitals evacuated, so either way, she was still exposed to the danger.

Also, my dad was not able to evacuate right away either, as he works for American Medical Response. So, he was basically on call the whole time. Plus, his experience as a paramedic for twenty years made him all the more valuable. 

It was good hearing from them and knowing that they were okay, but I was still panicking as they weren’t able to evacuate like the rest of the town.

Basically, my parents were displaced for five days. There were nights my dad would have to sleep in his truck. The whole time, I tried to stay in touch as much as I could. 

It was hard to not be there, and not know exactly where they were or where the fire was. Thankfully, they made it safely through the fire and none of their property was affected.

Looking back, the situation wasn’t all stress. I did find some silver linings throughout it.

It made me realize even more what I want to do with my life after school. I also truly came to appreciate all that my parents do and what great role models I have in my life. Not that I didn’t know this before, but experiencing a situation like this definitely made me discover it even more.


Basically, my parents were displaced for five days. There were nights my dad would have to sleep in his truck. The whole time, I tried to stay in touch as much as I could.

The Only Direction

I have always been fascinated with the medical field. For a while now, I’ve known that this is my calling as well. 

I just can’t picture myself doing anything else. Learning about the impact my parents have on other people’s lives over the years and throughout the Kincade Fire only solidified this dream further.

It’s been such a positive influence on me to have parents working so closely to what I want to do. They taught me how much of a difference I can make with the profession I choose. 

For me, it may be another year until I can follow their paths, but I’m so ready to leave my footprint in the medical world. 

Until then…

Let’s Go Blue Hose!

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