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Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

For 233 years the Corps has kept the wolf away from the door, here is just one example...

Marines Save Lives as Fire Destroys O.C. Motel

November 10, 2008

LAKE FOREST -- Six off-duty Marines are being credited with saving lives after fire ripped through a motel in Lake Forest.

The Marines, who happened to be staying at the Americas Best Value Inn, spotted flames and smoke just before 8 a.m. Sunday.

Marine Pvt. Colton Oliver, Pvt. Josh Hernandez and Pvt. 1st Class Thomas O'Brien woke sleeping guests by banging on doors and shouting for residents to get out of the burning building.

Hernandez carried one elderly man to safety. After the fire the man was treated with oxygen.

Amy Amadito-Phelps, who was in a room on the second-floor, said that she and her husband and 14-month-old son might have died if not for the Marines.

"We were right next to a room completely on fire and we couldn't smell smoke," she said. "No fire alarms were going off. The only thing we heard was
Marines banging on our windows and telling us to get out."

The Marines were on a 96-hour liberty in anticipation of the Marine Corps "birthday" Nov. 10.

O'Brien, said that, despite the holiday mood, his natural instincts kicked in when he heard someone yell "fire".

About 100 firefighters battled the six-alarm fire at the three-story motel for three hours.

Fire officials say three of four buildings were burned, and two buildings are probably a total loss.

Damage estimates were not immediately available.

Flames from the fire shot 30 feet into the air, and the fire was still burning through the roof about two hours after it started. Twelve engines and four trucks were on the scene.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion, but no other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire, which displaced 100 to 150 people, is not yet known, though O'Brien said he first saw the fire burning at the back of a second-floor vending machine.

As for the Marines, they said they were acting on instinct.

"Everybody was out by the time the firefighters got here," Oliver said. "It's what we're trained to do."

Semper Fidelis

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