Wedding ring found in Maria fire debris becomes a 'symbol of hope'

The heirloom was the only surviving item in a previous blaze.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Rachel Paula Abrahamson

A symbol of hope was found buried in the rubble of the fire in Los Angeles last week.

Patty Shales, who lost her Brentwood, California, home in the blaze, called the discovery of her late mother's wedding ring “a miracle."

The diamond, which was located in a gutter outside Shales' ravaged mansion, was the only item that had survived a previous fire in Las Vegas in the 1990s.

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“I feel like she sent me this to tell me that she’s in heaven and she’s OK, and I’m going to be OK,” Shales revealed at a press conference on Tuesday. “I totally feel that spiritual connection.”

Shales and her daughter evacuated with their dogs and just a few belongings.

“I could see these big balls of fire pieces — just raining fire," she recalled. “I just said goodbye to the house. I had no idea that was going to happen.”

After the Los Angeles Fire Department shared Shale's story on Facebook, it quickly went viral, with many praising the LAFD for making sure the heirloom was returned to its owner.

“California has gone through a lot with brush fires, so to hear the story of this miraculous ring that has survived two fires, people see it as a symbol of hope,” LAFD spokesperson Margaret Stewart told TODAY Style.

LAFD Assistant Chief Jaime Moore and Patty Shales Courtesy of Los Angeles Fire Department

Jaime Moore, LAFD assistant chief, delivered the ring to Shales.

“I had the unfortunate task of telling her that her house had been destroyed,” Moore said at Tuesday’s press conference. “But I asked her to ‘hold on a minute, I might have something (for you).’”

Shales knew what was inside and became emotional.

“I just feel so blessed and so grateful to the fireman. He could have just ignored that box, but no, he took the time to pick it up,” Shales gushed. Then, motioning to the ring, she added, “I don’t have any thing, except for this.”