"My life will always be divided into before the fire and after the fire," said Brian Fies.
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Fies is a graphic novelist living in a rented house in Windsor, seventeen months after the North Bay Fire burned his family home in Larkfield Estates. It's a story he could not let go untold.
That morning after the fire, Fies began his writing and drawing process.
"You have to wallow in it a little bit. You have to think fire, fire, fire for the better part of a year. I'm not always sure that's healthy."
Fahrenheit 451 in reverse. #TubbsFire burns cartoonist's house. He writes a graphic novel. A Fire Story arrived in bookstores, today. Brian Fies tells of loss and rediscovery in pictures and words. "My life will always be divided into before the fire and after. Forever." #abc7now pic.twitter.com/pP0Bz6TKCa— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) March 6, 2019
The book is titled, "A Fire Story." It has 160 pages, 150 drawings, and a universal experience.
"It is a book about our fire and how people respond and react to any kind of disaster," said Fies, who showed us some of his original drawings.
They share every little detail, moment after moment, from deciding to leave, to packing in 15 minutes, to calling the children, to escaping on a crowded highway-- and those are only the first few pages. A Fire Story documents the good, the bad, and tries to put them into a broader context.
"Telling the story gives me a sense of control over it. I control the universe inside that page."
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On Tuesday, "A Fire Story" finally reached bookshelves. The publisher printed 20,000 copies and has ordered more. It's the end of a 17-month creation for Fies, and just in time.
"Our house is under construction and if we are lucky we will be there in a couple of months," Fies told us.
That makes the beginning of a new chapter, after the fire.
Check out more stories about the North Bay Fires.