JAMUL, Calif. (KGTV) - The Valley Fire claimed the home of a 78-year-old Jamul woman Saturday, along with many of her beloved animals.
Cellphone video shot by Pat Menzies shows a thick wall of smoke over a ridge, as he drove his mother Eileen from her home, and away from the fast-moving flames of the Valley Fire on Saturday. Around 2 pm, Eileen says she had only minutes to pack a few things, grab her three dogs and get out of her home on Prairie Drive.
"We were afraid it was going to come fast, especially since there were no planes, helicopters and fire engines there," said Eileen.
Eileen says brushfires have gotten within a half-mile of her home in the past, but this felt different.
"i just had a gut feeling this one was going to take me out," said Eileen.
The fear turned into reality, as Eileen and her daughter discovered when they got back on the property the next day. Eileen's trailer home of 17 years was burned to the ground. All her family heirlooms and almost all her possessions were gone.
"I felt numb because there was nothing I could do. It's going to be tough to get back online," said Eileen.
On the day she learned what happened to her home, the toughest part was her search for her animals, in various pens and cages. Her goat, duck, turkey and three of 12 peacocks, were all found dead.
"It was sad because they were trapped. The turkey, duck and goats were my babies, and they're not with me anymore," said Eileen.
That sadness hanging over Eileen as she begins her road to recovery. She knows it will be a long one.
"Constantly running into new chapters in your life ... I'm 78 and starting over," said Eileen.
Eileen's home was insured. A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help rebuild her home.