Out of the ashes, a … proposal will rise. That's the bittersweet story out of Goleta, Calif., where an out-of-control fire scorched about 100 acres and destroyed more than a dozen homes after it started Friday night, local fire officials tell the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Ishu and Laura Rao were among those whose homes burned to the ground, but they asked the Santa Barbara County Fire Department if they could go back to the site to search for Laura Rao's Tiffany wedding ring. And they did, accompanied by firefighters.
The AP notes that Laura Rao removes her engagement and wedding rings each night, and when the fire broke out, the couple—only married for eight months—had no time to grab the jewelry as they rushed out of the home with Ishu Rao's two daughters and family pets. After scouring the burned-out site, 48-year-old Ishu Rao finally found the rings, and he "promptly dropped to a knee" amid all the ashes "and asked her to marry him again," per a department tweet. "She's the glue in our family, and I adore her to pieces, so if I can put a smile on her face I'm going to do it," he tells the AP. "It took all the pain away and reminded me of what matters in life: the people around you," 39-year-old Laura Rao says.