86-year-old describes moments before Mission Fire destroys home

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Just 15 minutes after evacuating his house Sunday, Warren Morgan watched from town as the fire tore through his hillside - leveling a home he once hand built down to cement blocks. (KFSN)

This year's wildfire season has claimed dozens of homes with the latest casualties coming from North Fork.

The Mission Fire has burned at least five structures and continues to threaten hundreds of others and is just five percent contained as of Monday night.

Firefighters have been working since early Monday morning dropping round after round of water on the hillside below. But even before they were able to arrive Monday, some homes like a three story house were already destroyed.

The heavy smoke that blanketed the mountain ridge above North Fork made it difficult for even helicopters to navigate. Even so, through the haze from miles away, Warren Morgan could tell the scale of destruction.

"You get so nervous and shaken up when they say you got just a few minutes to get out, you just can't think of what to pick up," he said.

Just 15 minutes after evacuating his house Sunday, Warren watched from town as the fire tore through his hillside - leveling a home he once hand built down to cement blocks.

"I never thought about it burning, I just didn't, we tried keeping it clean around there, I just never thought it would burn, but boy it did," he said.

For a man who lost everything, except for his dog and two garbage bags filled with documents, Warren is surprisingly calm.

"At my age, you can't get too excited," he said.

At 86 years old, Warren is also accustomed to extreme loss. Just a few weeks ago, he lost his wife of nearly 50 years.

"I'm just glad that she wasn't here, she would have never made it, her health was just too bad," he said.

On Monday, Warren learned a shed with some of their pictures escaped destruction. So, did one of his most beloved tractors.

"I don't think I'll rebuild at my age, but I have grandkids that want the place really bad so, I'll probably let them rebuild," he said.

Like the trees that will one day reline these hills, Warren too says his family will rebuild.

Warren's family set up a GoFundMe account and another account has been set up for another family who lost their home.

Related Topics:
wildfiremadera countyNorth Fork
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