"There was no question with all the smoke it was time to leave," said Howard Halla.
100-year-old Halla says the Glass Fire was closing in and there was no time to lose, so he and his new bride Joanne hightailed it out of their Deer Park neighborhood with their two dogs.
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"It started a mile from our house, so we gotta go quick, better take the most important stuff," said Joanne Yates-Halla.
That stuff wasn't food or clothes. It was Howard's memorabilia from his decorated career, flying missions as a captain with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
As Howard showed us his combat medals, Joanne became emotional because there's nothing she treasures more.
"There's nothing in the house worth saving more than his memories, people need to understand what veterans do for us," said Yates-Halla.
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Sadly, the home they shared was reduced to rubble. Nothing to salvage. Yet, Howard is not giving up.
"It's not the challenge you're facing, it's how you're going to face the challenge, that's my creed," said Halla.
Howard and Joanne got married last July, they met in 2018 when he hired her to help compile a book about his military career. Howard took his time proposing.
"She gets upset, 'why'd it take you so damned long?'"
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These newlyweds are staying with friends for now, and plan to rebuild a new house for two, on the very same site.
"I have my memories but I've lived a long life in that house, now it's time for a new adventure. I'm lucky to have Howard, he's a rock," Yates-Halla added.
Howard and Joanne are moving on, together.
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