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Dulzura man wakes up to home on fire, makes harrowing escape

Posted at 3:44 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 20:29:58-05

DULZURA, Calif. (KGTV) - A Dulzura man is describing his harrowing escape, after he woke up to his apartment on fire.

At Barrett Lake Winery Monday morning, flames tore through a converted barn housing the apartment of vineyard foreman Patrick Rowan. Around 5:30 a.m., Rowan woke to a loud noise and opened a door which opens into the barn's interior.

"So bright, about 20 feet away. Looked like the sun parked in the room next to me," said Rowan.

He saw flames everywhere and rushed into a second apartment unit to rescue two barn cats, but they kept running off.

"When I looked back, the door -- ceiling part -- was falling. Everything was on fire, except to the left, so I ran through there," said Rowan.

He ran back his own apartment to get his pets: two Siamese kittens named Tom and Jerry. For minutes, he tried to coax them to come out from under the bed, but they didn't. He then noticed that his only exit, the kitchen area, was on fire.

"The roof, ceiling, and door are all wood, and all on fire. Started falling, so I had to get out of there. I ran through the fire, but didn't get burned," said Rowan.

As he escaped, he didn't feel fear, only guilt.

"I felt like a piece of **** because I couldn't save my animals. They were my homies. They were the only things that mattered," said Rowan.

One kitten died in the fire. The other is missing. Rowan's apartment was a total loss, and he didn't have renters insurance.

He'll be homeless for the holidays, but he's still planning on buying gifts for family and friends.

"I'm not letting it ruin anything. I'm getting people gifts. People are yelling at me about it ... I don’t have anything anyways. The few hundred dollars I want to spend don't matter," said Rowan.

Fire investigators told the property owners the fire was suspicious and the investigation is ongoing. ABC 10News reached out to investigators and are waiting to hear back.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help Rowan get back on his feet.