Northern California family escapes hours before wildfire destroys dream home

Wildfires

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — A victim of the River Fire says they left a few hours before the fire consumed their dream home. 

She also says they were prepared and knew exactly what to take in case a disaster ever happened. 

“I’m absolutely sure that we are in shock,” said Lizz Porter. “I think we are all in shock.”

Having only been in their two-story house off White Oak Drive just outside of Colfax for a year, Porter and her family were falling in love with their newfound surroundings and looking forward to making it their own. 

“I mean it was our dream house. It was our list of what we wanted. We wanted land; we had four acres,” Porter said. “We wanted projects that we could do ourselves and really put our mark on the house.” 

But their hard work came to an end when they started seeing reports on social media groups regarding a large fire. 

“People started posting, ‘Oh my God, there’s a fire at the campground.’ There was a huge column of orange smoke and the sky was red,” Porter said. 

Porter and her husband, Jamie, made the hard decision to pack up their travel trailer Wednesday and leave their home behind. On Wednesday while at their parent’s house, Porter received the devastating news. 

“Julie, she actually told me and said, ‘I really don’t want to have to tell you this over the phone, but it’s gone. Everything is gone.’” Porter said. 

Despite their heavy loss, Porter says she is glad her family took the necessary precautions before the fire consumed their home. 

“We’re lifelong Californians anyway, so we have earthquake preparedness. It’s always a thing and so we really wanted to be ready,” Porter said. “And so we had all of our photos in boxes and all our important papers are in a single bin. So, we can just grab those bins and go.” 

Another thing they have not lost is hope. 

“We’ll be fine. We have been through some stuff, but like now, we can start moving forward and doing whatever is next for us.”

Porter says another important thing is everyone in the home got out safely, including their cat and puppy. 

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