VACAVILLE, Calif. (KRON) — “It looked like lava coming over the hills.”
A Vacaville homeowner recounts the moments he saw the LNU Lightning Complex fires approaching his home.
The couple says this was supposed to be their forever home.
They put all of the money they had left into this two story-house, which you can see is now all gone.
“I watched the house siding. It got so hot, it caught fire, so I watched my whole house burn down in half an hour. It started here, went to that side of the house. In half an hour the roof was collapsing.”
Vince Hangman’s home went up in flames right before his eyes.
He stayed behind to fight the fire, but later recorded video when he realized the house was beyond saving as the fire swallowed almost everything on the property.
Hangman’s partner, Michael Muir, had already evacuated, and what he came home to was this…
“Everything is gone. There’s nothing to do but pick up the pieces and rebuild.”
But rebuilding for these two will be a challenge.
They don’t have fire insurance, and they put all of the money they had into this home.
Plus, areas in the house were designed specifically for Muir, who has to use a wheelchair to get around.
“We’ve only been here 2.5 years, so we’re going to rebuild. We had a studio for a caretaker when I get too old and I can’t work on the property anymore.”
For Hangman, this is the second time a fire has destroyed his house.
In 2008, he says lost his Napa home due to a fire started by a candle.
Despite so much loss, the couple say they’re thankful for the help from friends, family, and the community, as they try to stay positive in this devastating time.
“I work with a nonprofit that provides outdoor recreation and open space access to people with disabilities and I always tell my students that I teach how to drive horses with adaptive equipment. I always said it’s important to not focus on what you’ve lost but keep your attention on what you can do and that’s how we’ll survive this. We can’t be looking back. We have to look ahead.”
For now, Vince and Michael are staying at a family member’s house.
Vince has been out here on the property every day since the fire, working to clean this area up.
He says they have plans to rebuild here, but for now they’re taking it one day at a time.
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