Losing a home in a wildfire can be traumatizing for anyone. For Warren Smape, it's a bit more emotional. After evacuating his home, Smape, who lives in Sylmar, California, is afraid the California fires might destroy the house he inherited from his late father when passed away in June.
"We shared it with my dad, who just recently passed away," said Smape outside of an American Red Cross shelter a few miles away from the fire. "And the house seems kind of empty just because he's not there."
Smape and his wife Tracy Bruce were forced to evacuate their home Tuesday morning as the Creek fire engulfed nearby houses in flames.
“The sky was red when I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to take the dog out. I told the wife, we gotta go.”
"We didn't really think of what we needed to take, what we didn't need to take. The important stuff at the time was a few clothes," said Smape. "We got my dad's ashes and our pets."
The couple has chosen to sleep in their car because the shelter doesn't allow pets, like their dog, Miley, inside. They don't want to put her in the mobile the county has provided for pets.
"We feel like it's better if she spends the time with me," said Tracy Bruce. "I don't want to traumatize her or anything like that."
The 12,000 acre Creek fire had destroyed at least 15 homes so far, as of Thursday afternoon. Six of those were down the street from Warren and Tracy's house. For now, food and showers from the Red Cross, as well as random prayer groups from local churches are helping them get by.
"It's very stressful," said Bruce. "It's a struggle, but I'm just blessed that we're alive, our pets are alive, and we can deal with all the other stuff later."