An Oregon fire chief lost her own home as she led a volunteer crew on the front lines of a raging wildfire.
Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Chief Christiana Rainbow Plews, 50, said she knew the blazes were spreading fast but hoped her house was spared last week as she helped battle the Holiday Farm Fire, Oregon Live reported.
“We were just running and gunning and doing everything we could, but it was against all odds,” Plews said. “We couldn’t get anywhere. The trees were down. The fire was everywhere.”
But the next day, she learned that the inferno had destroyed her home and another property she owned.
“My first thought was, ‘How do I tell my family?’ I didn’t know where my family was,” she said.
She called her husband, who had been able to safely evacuate, and tearfully told him, “I’m really sorry everything is gone.”
Devastated, the chief kept fighting the fires and only went to confront the damage Wednesday afternoon, the outlet reported.
“I threw up. I was sobbing. I was looking at nothing,” she said of her 1,200-square-foot, single-level house, which was almost entirely rubble.
“It was the same devastation I had seen all the way down the river, except that was mine. I just don’t know how to process that.”
Plews on Sunday shared a message on Facebook with the community as other residents try to reconcile with the destruction.
“I do not know what the future holds or how to navigate this but I am taking one tiny shaking uncertain step at a time and I ask only that you all do the same,” she wrote on the fire district’s page.
“Be patient. Be kind. Hold the ones you love. We have to do this together.”
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