Creek Fire: CAL FIRE captain and family lose home to flames just weeks after moving

Monday, September 14, 2020
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The place Leithan Dryden and his family were starting to call home went up in flames before they could even settle in.

FRESNO, Calif. -- "The last thing standing was the chimney, everything else was gone," says CAL FIRE Captain Leithan Dryden.

The place he and his family were starting to call home went up in flames before they could even settle in.

The Dryden's lived here for less than a month before the Creek Fire decimated their place and ravaged their entire neighborhood.

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He let us on to his property to get a first-hand look at the devastation.

"Our shed, our pump house, our house, all the trees were just scorched," he said.

A few blocks down, flames consumed his parent's home. Their family cabin in Alder Springs is also gone. His uncle was living there.

"We didn't grab much, not as much as we should have," Dryden said.

Dryden was on the frontlines of the blaze when he was told he needed to evacuate his home.

"I was fortunate enough to be able to get off the engine and go to my house," he said.

At the time, the Creek Fire was burning in the Big Creek area.

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Dryden, who's been a firefighter for 15 years, felt his home was secure.

"Honestly, me being in the fire service for as long as I have, I was pretty sure that my house wasn't going to burn," he said.

In all his years of service, Dryden says he's never seen a fire behave quite like this one.

"There are certain things that when all the stars align, it will devastate everything," he said.

Reality is now starting to sink in for Dryden and his family.

They may no longer have their homes, but they have each other to get through this incredibly difficult time.

A GoFundMe link has been set up for the family.

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