'Nothing but Broken Memories': Phelan Family Returns After Blue Cut Fire Burned Down Homes - NBC Southern California
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'Nothing but Broken Memories': Phelan Family Returns After Blue Cut Fire Burned Down Homes

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    A family was devastated upon returning to find that the Blue Cut Fire burned their property. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (Published Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016)

    Ronnie Moore and his son were watching a wildfire rage from their front yard in Phelan when suddenly, the wind shifted.

    "One of the neighbor's propane tanks or something big and heavy blew up," Moore said. "There was a loud boom, and when we saw it fly across the sky -- we were praying it wouldn't -- but it landed on our side yard."

    That was the moment when the so-called Blue Cut Fire -- which started burning Tuesday in the Cajon Pass and has since grown to about 56 square miles -- overtook their property, destroying both their mobile homes.

    "We started running and it sucked the oxygen out of us," Moore said. "We couldn't even talk to each other, and we barely got through the fence that was burning."

    He described the destruction as a "twister tornado."

    "Stuff was flying through the air," he said. "The last step was when I saw one of my VW dune buggies fly through the air and land next to me."

    Moore wiped away tears as he described the moment he turned around and watched his home burn down to the ground.

    "That was the hardest part, turning around and seeing everything go," he said.

    Moore and his family were able to find a home away from home in a shopping center parking lot in Phelan, which has become a makeshift RV campsite for other evacuees -- many of them not sure if they have homes to return to.

    On Thursday, Moore and his family were able to get a police escort to check out their property and the aftermath of the fire.

    "My stomach, it just dropped. When we got to the gate and I saw my son's house, just the worst feeling ever," Rochelle Howell said. "It was just nothing but broken memories and it looked like a battlefield, nothing, there was just nothing."

    Moore said their mobile homes were not insured because they were more than 45 years old.

    "It was the worst. The main thing is, my family is safe," he said. "Everything else can be replaced, but having no insurance is going to hurt us."

    Moore's sister has set up a GoFundMe to help out the family.

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