An American flag made from fire hoses that fought the Thomas Fire will be on display at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse for the next month.
The 7-by-9 foot flag, created by retired Santa Barbara City firefighter John Carrillo, was unveiled at the courthouse Wednesday morning. Mayor Cathy Murillo and First District Supervisor Das Williams were in attendance.
The flag was commissioned, with a $10,000 donation, by Montecito Bank and Trust through the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation in early December. The proceeds will benefit the Claeyssens foundation and One805, the organizers of the Kick Ash Bash first-responder benefit concert.
“We wanted to make sure that this one was made from the hoses that actually fought the Thomas Fire,” said Hazel Blankenship, the foundation’s founding director.
“Veterans and first responders are so closely related because so many first responders are veterans themselves.”
Ms. Blankenship said foundation and bank officials are determining a permanent home for the flag, possibly at a Montecito area school.
Mr. Carrillo said he made the original flag for himself, but decided to produce a limited run at the urging of his friend, firefighter Hillary Davis of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. He said veterans foundation officials saw one of his flags on display in Santa Barbara City Fire Station 1 and asked him to make more for fundraising.
“It kinda took off from there. Every flag has a special meaning. It’s something patriotic and personal,” said Mr. Carrillo, who said 250 feet of decommissioned hoses were used in the flag.
The red strips were made from red Montecito Fire Protection District hoses and the white came from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department hoses.
Mr. Carrillo said he spent more than 30 years with the city fire department, 22 as a firefighter. “I started out as a mechanic and worked my way up from there,” he said.
Chip Hickman, chief of the Montecito Fire Protection District, said it was fitting that the hoses that fought the Thomas Fire will continue to serve those in need.
“That’s what makes it so unique. Now these hoses are being repurposed to help out veterans and that’s a great cause.”
Ms. Blankenship said 3-by-5 foot hose flags are available for purchase through the foundation for a $2,500 donation, while 5-by-8 foot flags are available for $4,000.
To purchase, visit PCVF.org or call 969-0695.