Woman who lost her home in the Eagle Creek Fire says 'I forgive him'


Nearly a month after the Eagle Creek Fire torched homes and ripped through the Eagle Creek Fire, a woman who lost everything said the teenager who is accused of starting it should not go to jail.

On Thursday, the Hood River County District Attorney charged a 15-year-old boy with reckless burning, depositing burning materials on forest lands, unlawful possession of fireworks, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.

Iris Schenk, 67, used to live in Cascade Locks. She said her home burned to the ground during the fire.

“All I have are just mementos from my past,” she said. "There’s nothing left just a pile of ashes.”

Schenk said it has been hard to sleep at night. Sometimes, she said, her daughters need to force her to leave her brother’s home where she has been staying.

"I just don’t want to do anything or go out in public,” she continued. “People have to practically pry me out of here to get me to go somewhere.”

While it has taken some time, Schenk admitted she forgives the teenager who is accused of starting the fire.

But instead of sending him to jail, she said she wants to see him do some work.

“Let him get out there and replant these trees that are devastated and gone, and let him see what he totally destroyed and what it takes to put it back together,” she said. “It didn’t just affect me, it affected everybody."

Schenk is waiting to move into a new house that is being remodeled. As for the teenager, investigators have not released his name nor any other details on the case.

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