Santa Barbara- S County

Couple trying to pick up pieces after losing home in Whittier Fire

Couple trying to pick up pieces after losing home in Whittier Fire

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Pam and Bob "Cookie" Fortune are trying to pick up the pieces after losing nearly everything they own in the Whittier Fire.

Their house was destroyed soon after the blaze broke out near Camp Whittier and Lake Cachuma on July 8. 

The Fortune's live in a house on Camp Whittier which is provided United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County. The organization operates the camp.

When the fire broke out near the property, Pam said she was going for a swim at the pool with her grandchildren. "It was 118 degrees," she said. Within 20 minutes of the fire breaking out, flames were at her yard.

"We went running to get anything live out of the house," she said. Still in her bathing suit, Pam grabbed what she could and fled. "It was a foot from my car as we drove away with my grandchild in the car."

Pam's husband Bob, who is the maintenance supervisor at Camp Whittier, stayed behind to help evacuate 100 people staying at the camp. "They were very cooperative in the evacuation and they all got out of there very quickly," he said.

"I'm so proud of him because how many people wouldn't just go, 'my wife and grandchildren, I've got to save them'. But he stayed and was the last person out of the camp, directing over 50 cars down a one-way road so the fire department could get in," Pam said.

Pam didn't know her home was destroyed until she saw a picture on the internet of her dog statue still perched in the front yard.

Both are grateful to fire crews for all they did to help the situation.

"Mostly I want to thank all the fire companies that responded and the amazing firefighters," Bob said. "They are unbelievable and they are still, as you can see fighting, this blaze."

The Fortunes have a GoFundMe page, to donate click here.

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