Cal Fire Local 2881 is making emergency donations to the families of eight firefighters who have lost their homes in the past few days.
While fighting the fires raging across Northern California, some firefighters have received news of their own homes being burned by the blazes and their families relocated as a result.
Cal Fire Local 2881 has shared the stories of two such firefighters.
46-year-old Paul Duncan, a 14-year Cal Fire veteran, was on his day off when he responded to a fire in the town of Cobb. While at the scene, he received a call from his wife and teenage daughters, who told him another fire was approaching their home.
Duncan was able to help his family safely escape, though their four-bedroom, three-bath house was burned to the ground. A 1911 Colt 45, a World War I souvenir from Duncan’s grandfather, was also destroyed.
“I would have gone to Cobb even if I’d known the outcome at my own home,” Duncan said. “I am a firefighter because I think I can make a change when times are tough and service to the community matters.”
24-year-old Robert Taylor works out of the Kelsey-Cobb Station in Lake County. He was in his second day of fighting the Butte Fire when he received word the Valley Fire had forced his mother to evacuate their home.
Taylor was eventually able to reconnect with his mother, who had been evacuated to Middletown High School. She said the home was a sure loss.
“We lived in that house since I was in the third grade. We lost everything,” said Taylor. “My family got out –mom, dad and my little brother (17). They saved some clothes and pictures and heirlooms from grandma.”
Taylor says he and Duncan are not alone.
“I am hearing about other firefighters who have lost their homes, too,” Taylor said. “The fire doesn’t recognize who owns the homes. It just burns. We are at the mercy of the fires.”
Cal Fire Local 2881 President Mike Lopez says two or three other firefighters may have lost their homes as well.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the firefighters can send their checks to the Cal Fire Benevolent Foundation, federal ID number 20-5686356. The Foundation is located at 1731 J Street, Suite 100 in Downtown Sacramento.