Lake Elsinore family shares story behind Holy Fire firefighter hug photo

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The family of a Lake Elsinore home shared the story of how a relative was captured in a photo being consoled by a firefighter as a crew fought to save their house from the Holy Fire. (KABC)

Lynsey Millan wasn't home when the Holy Fire raced up the canyon below her home, but her brother Alex Geyer was there when the wind picked up the flames and ignited the brush.

The mother of five said her brother was in Los Angeles watching the news, and when he saw the fire approaching Lake Elsinore he jumped in his car to help other family and friends pack up and flee.

"The flames just started coming down these hills that are near our home," Millan said. "(Alex) went out front and started flagging down the firemen, telling them that there's a fire here and 'Please come to this yard, please come to this yard.'"

A photo, taken by ABC7 photographer Martin Orozco, captured a touching moment as Geyer was embraced by a Cal Fire firefighter. Video was also captured of their conversation as the flames appeared behind the home.

"Hang tight, all right?" the firefighter said. "It's doing exactly what we want it to do, which means that we want it to come up here so we don't have to worry about it later, okay? We're good. We got this."

The image garnered thousands of shares and comments on Facebook.

"They're out of town. They come back tomorrow so I'm here just trying to defend their house," Geyer said after the emotional moment.

Millan said there is a story behind her brother's raw emotion.

"I know how much my brother loves me, and I know he just didn't want us to lose our house. I'm glad he wasn't in harm's way. I would have never asked him to do that, but I'm really glad we didn't lose our house. We just certainly don't need that in addition to everything else we've been through," she said.

Millan said a year and a half ago, their 2-year-old daughter nearly drowned. The accident left her severely disabled. The family was away on their first vacation since the accident when the fire broke out.

"That picture was really amazing. It definitely shows the intensity of the flames and at the same time that compassion that firefighter had of just consoling him, of just 'It's going to be OK. We've got it,'" she said.

Millan added that she's grateful to those firefighters for saving her house that her children could come home to after their vacation.
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