Brookings, Ore. – The Chetco Bar fire is now the number one fire priority in the United States. At least seven homes have been destroyed by the flames. NBC5 News spoke with one of the couples who lost everything in the fire.
The Whorlton’s had lived in their house for 20 years raising their three children.
The family was able to make it out of their home safely with their important personal belongings in tow, but they had to leave behind a few personal memento’s.
Even though they were prepared they were still incredibly shocked.
The Whorltons have dealt with fire near their home before. In 2002 they had to completely evacuate their home. The fire didn’t get to it that time.
This time, it unfortunately did.
Ceclia Whorlton wasn’t home when she got the call to evacuate. She reached out to her family for help. Giving them a list of what to take.
Removing memories was the easy part. Convincing Ceclia’s husband, Lane, to abandon his home was difficult.
Had Lane not left their home the Whorlton family could have suffered another devastating loss.
“We came up to look at the house for the first time, he said ‘I wouldn’t have made it I’m glad I left.'”
Now their property is covered in ash and their furniture is completely torched. But their memories remain.
From the outer part of where their home used to be you can see their favorite part of the house, the area near their fire place where they would all gather.
As the Whorltons look into the future and figure out how to move forward Cecelia says it won’t be easy because of how much the home meant to them.
“This is my heaven. This is our piece of heaven,” Cecelia Whorlton says.
Cecelia told NBC5 News that she and her husband do plan to stay in Brookings but they’re unsure if they will rebuild on their property that was damaged by the fire.
Cecelia Whorlton says the damage estimate will be around $700,000.
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