Firefighters seen pushing classic Mustang Shelby GT350 from burning California home

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Firefighters push a vehicle from a garage as the Woolsey fire burning a home near Malibu Lake in Malibu, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. | AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu
Firefighters push a vehicle from a garage as the Woolsey fire burning a home near Malibu Lake in Malibu, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. | AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

A photo taken by an Associated Press photographer on Friday showed firefighters pushing what looks to be a 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 fastback from the garage of a burning home in Malibu, California.

Taken by photographer Ringo H.W. Chu near Malibu Lake, the photo went viral over the weekend. It was posted in numerous car forums and on social media as people praised the actions of the firefighters, which may have spared the fastback from the raging Woolsey Fire.

It’s possible the car is one of 1,400 Shelby GT350 fastbacks made in 1966. Should it be an actual production model, it would likely be worth six figures.

Why the car was pushed away from the home remains in question. Some publications guessed the car was moved to prevent the fuel tank from exploding and worsening the fire, while others theorized the firefighters were simply trying to protect property.

Still others wondered if the firefighters are car people who wanted to save a piece of American automotive history.

It was unknown if the car made it through the blaze as of publication. A photo posted to Twitter appeared to show the fastback was pushed a good distance away from the home.

Two enormous wildfires began engulfing California last week. At least 31 people had been killed as of Monday morning and hundreds more were missing. Thousands have been evacuated and some of them have returned to their homes, including our own Larry Crane.

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The Camp Fire burning near Chico, about 90 miles north of Sacramento, has been the most destructive. At least 29 people have been killed, making it one of the deadliest in state history, and thousands of homes and other structures have been destroyed.

The Woolsey Fire — along with the smaller Hill Fire — has claimed at least two lives in southern California. It has destroyed 179 structures, some of which belonged to Hollywood celebrities. Officials said another 57,000 structures in the area are threatened.

The Woolsey Fire has burned hot enough to melt metal, another Associated Press photograph showed.

Unfavorable wind conditions were expected to continue Monday. The 113,000-acre Camp Fire was 25 percent contained and the 83,000-acre Woolsey Fire was 10 percent contained as of Sunday.

Last year, a wildfire in Santa Rosa, California, killed 22 people. It destroyed 36,087 acres and 5,643 structures along with some classic cars.

Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

6 COMMENTS

    • Tracy , get a grip . This is a car forum. Of course people are first . It’s just a story that adds a little something additional to the overall story .

      Why do you have to pretend to be so judgmental ?
      Everyone knows it’s people first , duh , you make yourself look stupid

      If it was a pet magazine , would you whine about a picture of firefighter saving a dog ?

      God this country is going insane with judgemental fever

    • Common sense? Has Completely disappeared! Only this current generation, Could find fault, With a "CAR FORUM" over pointing out A collector car , had been saved! in a Fire….! The BOO HOO , poor me, crowd, ALWAYS NEEDS SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT!!

    • The second I heard this story I knew that someone would complain.
      We are all painfully aware of the incredible tragedies happening in CA.
      But if the firefighters were hosing down a house to keep it from burning, or if they saved a pet or any animal, carried someone’s prize family photos out of a house–you wouldn’t complain, would you?
      This picture comprised maybe 2 minutes of these brave people’s day–in a 12-hr., 15-hr. or more shift.
      They could have just now saved a life. We don’t know, do we? Or maybe you were there, fighting the fires and saving lives along side them?
      Don’t judge them b/c they took 2 minutes to push a vehicle, the same way you wouldn’t judge them for doing any of the actions I listed above.
      Now–let’s all donate to American Red Cross if you haven’t already–and let’s not criticize others w/out knowing the whole story.
      Stay safe.

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