Retired Fire Captain loses home in Camp Fire, helps save neighbors


Just when he thought his firefighting days were behind him, the flames of the Camp Fire closed in on his home in Paradise.

A retired East Contra Costa Fire Captain jumped back into action and saved his almost 90-year-old neighbors’ life.

Retirement should not look like this.

After 30 years as a fire captain, John Foster and his wife moved from Brentwood to Paradise in July.

The Camp Fire destroyed their dreams.

As the wall of smoke moved closer to his home in El Dorado Mobile Estates, Foster knew even with his decades of firefighting experience, he would not be able to save his own home.

“I knew that it was a fire to make history. That was from years of going on strike teams and seeing the smoke, I knew it was one to be reckoned with,” Foster said.

“Spot fire here. It is not good we are going to lose our home,” Foster said in a video he recorded as he evacuated knowing nothing would ever be the same.

While driving out, he says he saw his 89-year-old neighbor standing outside her burning home clutching her dog and praying.

He rescued her, putting her in his car, likely saving her life.

“It is the only thing to do not because I am a firefighter I would hope any human would do the same thing,” Foster said.

The retirement life Foster and his wife planned for will be different now.

But it will still happen in paradise.

“It is the place that I want to be and I am not going to let a fire chase me out,” Foster said.

Since they had just moved to Paradise this summer, the family did not have home insurance.

A fundraising page is set up to help the retired fire captain and his wife get back on their feet.



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