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'This dude saved a ton of houses'

November 18, 2008 | 10:22 am

Jeff Reeves

Jeff Reeves became a local hero in one Yorba Linda neighborhood after spending a day and a half spraying down his neighbors' homes with his water truck.

Reeves, a grading contractor, heard that people in his neighborhood were encountering a fierce fire. So he pulled the water truck out of his yard, filled it with 2,250 gallons of water and, at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, when the fire hit, began spraying homes with loads of liquid.

He kept going all day and all night, repeatedly spraying dozens of threatened homes with gushes of water, which emerged from a nozzle on the side of the white vehicle bearing a U.S. flag. He sprayed out 49 loads, finishing up at 5 o'clock the next morning.

Reeves200 On Sunday his neighbors and friends on Big Horn Mountain Way and Blue Ridge Drive showed their appreciation as he took joyrides with the vehicle, children clinging onto the side.

"This dude saved a ton of houses," said Tim Tooney, a friend whose house Reeves passed over with the water many times.

"I owe you my life, man," said Bob Tillmon, Tooney's next-door neighbor and a 16-year homeowner, snapping a photo of the truck. "This guy's a hero."

-- Tony Barboza

Photos: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

More photos from the battle against the Southern California wildfires.