Firefighters were putting out hot spots last week from the Getty Fire in West Los Angeles when they noticed a small box on a walkway in front of the rubble where a home once stood.
It appeared to be one of the few things left intact at the property. The house was the only residence on that section of street destroyed by the fire, which started above the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass and burned into nearby communities.
Firefighters with LAFD Engine 89 brought the water-logged box back to their command post and handed it over to Assistant Fire Chief Jaime Moore.
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He was immediately struck by its appearance.
"It was a beautiful box," said Moore. "Upon opening it up, I saw this beautiful diamond ring inside. I said, 'Wow, how are we going to find the owners.'"
The mystery was solved a few days later, when residents were allowed to return to their neighborhoods. Before entering evacuated areas, residents were required to provide ID to confirm they lived in the neighborhood.
Moore was checking an evacuated resident's ID when he noticed it had the address where the ring was found.
First, he had to share the grim news that her home was destroyed by the fire.
Then, he asked about the box.
"I said, 'Ma'am, out of curiosity, does this box look familiar to you?"
There was no doubt she knew what was inside, Moore said.
"She was very surprised to see it," Moore said.
She also shared the heartwarming story behind the ring.
It was her mother's wedding ring, a family heirloom that also made it through the devastating November 1961 Bel Air Fire. Her family's home was among the nearly 500 destroyed in the fire.
The woman's mother was with her during the Oct. 28 Getty Fire evacuation, she told Moore.
"When a moment like this happens and you can bring some kind of joy to those individuals, it means a lot to us," said Moore.
NBC4 has reached out to the homeowner for comment.