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Parents' ashes lost as Valley Fire destroys Jamul couple's home

Posted at 4:26 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 22:20:40-04

JAMUL, Calif. (KGTV) - A Jamul couple made a heartbreaking return to what remains left of their home, destroyed by the Valley Fire.

Late Saturday afternoon, Irving and Anita Beeman shot cellphone video from the back yard of their home on West Boundary Truck Trail.

"The smoke blowing straight above our our house, so I knew we were in big trouble," said Irving Beeman.

The fire seemed a good four to five miles away, but that changed quickly.

"In about 15 seconds, it went over a quarter mile ... The flames were between 100 and 200 feet tall," said Irving.

Irving scrambled to a ridge and peered over.

"Looked like waterfall of fire from the top of the ridge to the bottom of the valley. A wind vortex or something took it straight down to valley floor," said Irving.

Anita left first, while Irving left in another vehicle soon after. The couple only had time to load up what amounted to a truck bed of belongings. A photo taken by Irving shows his property, as it began burning.

"We watched it catch fire and then tore out of there," said Irving.

The next day, the couple got back to their property, and their fears were realized. Their home of 20 years was no more. One of their trucks and their son's van were destroyed.

"Just devastating. Still had been holding out hope," said Anita.

Buried under the remains of their home, were boxes containing the ashes of Anita's parents. In the rush, it didn't get packed.

"In the middle of night, you think of things that are gone, things you couldn’t save," said Anita.

"I would wake up and saw her crying. Just hugged her. Not much you can say. Just hug each other," said Irving.

They'll continue to lean on each other, as they begin their long road to recovery.

"It'll be real tough to rebuild, but we’re going to," said Anita.

"We’re very grateful we’re alive and have a chance to rebuild," said Irving.

The couple's home was insured. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help them rebuild their home.