MARION COUNTY, OR (KPTV)- Some fire victims are now returning to their homes for the first time. Many of them are returning to find nothing but ash and rubble.
Loren Christian narrowly escaped his home in Lyons.
“I was in my underwear and t-shirt, no shoes and I practically crawled all the way to that gate," Christian said.
He said the Beachie Creek Fire engulfed his home so quick, he didn't know if he was going to make it. He said he had to walk about a mile to get to the main road and try to get help.
“I stepped out in the middle of the road and stopped a service truck and he said whatever it is buddy I can’t help you. And I said all I need is ride to Lyons three miles away and he said I can’t help ya," he said.
He said all he cared about was getting out.
“I jumped on the back of his service truck and I could hear him yelling at me," he said.
Christian said he held on to the back of the truck and when he needed to jump off, he got the driver's attention near his ex-wife's house.
“I seen a big set of bolt cutters in the back and I had to reach in and bang the top of his roof to make him stop and he’s cussing me," he said. "So, I barely made it to her house.”
On Tuesday, he returned for the first time to the place where his home once stood.
“I’ve been here 25 years and I built the porches, built the garages and all this was all brush. It was all blackberries and this was my bedroom and when I looked over all that was on fire," he said.
He began sifting through the ash and the debris, trying to see if there was anything left.
“I had a lighter collection look at that zippo lighter collection I had about 25 of them," he said.
Nothing but scorched pieces of furniture and twisted metal remain.
“That’s my Winchester, that’s my World War I, that’s my shotgun," he pointed out.
He said it's difficult to see the place he's spent the last 25 years of his life reduced to rubble.
“That was my hot tub and I bet you there’s $5,000 of tools laying right there," he said.
He continued looking through what was left, trying to piece together anything he could find.
“I just found 13 of my burnt harmonicas, just torched," he said.
He pointed to the place where his living room, kitchen and bedroom once were.
“Right here was the T.V.," he said.
The one thing he was hoping to find is also gone.
“I wish I could have found my sisters urn, just a tiny little blown glass urn with her ashes in it," he said. He said he is at a loss for words but is grateful to have somehow made it out
“I’m overwhelmed," he said. "I can’t come to tears, but I wish I could."
Christian’s dog Riley also escaped. He said the dog was gone for two days and his nephew found him near one of the ponds by where his home once was.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Christian rebuild. He said he plans to return even if he has to pitch a tent.
More: Coverage of wildfires
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