Fires

Flames destroyed their home, but an engagement ring survived. He asked her to marry him again

Ishu and Laura Rao's home was destroyed by the Holiday Fire in Goleta, California. They returned to search for Laura's engagement ring. When they found it, Ishu asked her to marry him again.
Ishu and Laura Rao's home was destroyed by the Holiday Fire in Goleta, California. They returned to search for Laura's engagement ring. When they found it, Ishu asked her to marry him again. Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Ishu and Laura Rao's home was one of more than a dozen houses destroyed by the Holiday Fire in Goleta.

The blaze, which at one point prompted evacuations of about 2,500 people, burned the couple's home to the ground Friday night, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Watch a helicopter drop water on smoldering areas from the Holiday Fire in Goleta, California on Saturday, July 7, 2018. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the area after 20 structures were destroyed.

The couple went back to the site of their home on Sunday to search for Laura's engagement ring, the Fire Department said in a tweet.

And they found it.

Then, "Ishu promptly dropped to a knee and asked her to marry him again," the Fire Department wrote.

"She's the most beautiful woman I've ever known, she's the glue in our family, and I adore her to pieces, so if I can put a smile on her face I'm going to do it," Ishu Rao told the Associated Press.

The Raos, who have been married for eight months, were getting ready for bed on Friday night — and Laura put her engagement and wedding rings in a dish by the kitchen sink as she usually did — when they smelled smoke and realized they had to evacuate immediately, according to the Washington Post. As they got in the car to leave, Laura realized she left her engagement ring.

Laura told the Washington Post that she wanted to go back and get her ring, but realized it could cost her her life.

"I drove away so upset," she told the newspaper.

Ishu found Laura's ring after he looked for the pipes in their burned-down home and figured out where the sink had been, according to the Associated Press.

His proposal "put everything into perspective," Laura told the AP, adding that it "reminded me of what matters in life: the people around you."

"It was truly a special moment out of the ashes," Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason told the AP.

As of Monday morning, the Holiday Fire had burned about 100 acres and was 90 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. Full containment of the fire is expected by Wednesday.

The blaze, which erupted Friday night, has destroyed 28 structures total, including 13 homes, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

This drone footage was taken on June 30, 2018, from Sacramento and shows the County Fire as it burned in Yolo County. Five days later, the fire has burned 82,700 acres and is 25 percent contained.

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