Family recounts losing home in Biggs Junction wildfire

Family narrowly escapes fast-moving fire

BIGGS JUNCTION, Ore. -- Sam and Connie Thurston are reeling after losing their home Wednesday to a wind-driven fire near Biggs Junction in the Columbia River Gorge.

They were sitting down to lunch with their two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Carly, when someone called to say there was a fire nearby. Within moments, the flames had swept up the bluff below their home and was closing quickly.

Sam ran for the car. Connie grabbed their granddaughter.

"Got in the car, started going down the road and that first little corner that's right through there, you couldn't see anything," Connie said standing near her destroyed home.

"We didn't know where the road was, there was so much smoke. We didn't know if we were going into flame, but we knew we couldn't stay and he just guessed it knowing how the road bends, and we went only a little ways and then it was clear. Absolutely clear," she said.

"It was like God said 'Okay, there's your window, go for it,'" Connie added.

They made it through to safety. But their home is now a pile of twisted metal, nails and ash.

Connie and her husband were renting and did not have insurance.

Their daughter set up a gofundme page to help get them back on their feet.

Connie also spent most of the day searching for her missing dog, which ran away during the fire. Around 7:00 p.m.Thursday, the dog wandered back to the destroyed home where Connie and her daughter were waiting.

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