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Horse trough saves man from Concow flames

July 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The California wildfires have turned deadly. The remains of at least one person have been found in a burned-out home in Concow, and another man narrowly escaped burning to death.At least 50 homes have been destroyed in Concow. The county coroner has confirmed at least one death, and there are reports the deceased was a woman. One man thinks the deceased may be a 58-year-old male retiree friend of his.

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While firefighters keep trying to get a grip on the Butte County lightning fires that have been burning for three weeks, authorities have finally been able to go through the fire-ravaged area of Concow. There, the county coroner has confirmed finding at least one body.

Resident Tom Tirey thinks the body was his 58-year-old neighbor. The house where the neighbor live burned to the ground.

With so many false-alarm evacuations in the past several days, Tirey thinks his friend probably didn't feel like believing it.

"I just believe that he was fed up with all of that and he really didn't feel like there was much of a threat because it had been going on, false alarms, 'crying wolf,' you know, you cry 'wolf,' that's what happens," said Tirey.

Firefighters were doing a type of controlled burn backfire early Tuesday morning when those famous canyon winds picked up and destroyed at least 50 homes.

Tom Tirey himself has a harrowing story of escape. The flames were destroying his house and were eating up everything all around him. Then he remembered his neighbor across the street had a pool full of water. Tirey made a mad dash toward it.

"I jumped in the horse trough of my neighbor's house. I was going for the swimming pool, but the house was burning so intensely I couldn't get there," said Tirey. "There was fire on both sides of the road; I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see. It was very intense heat; everything around you, everywhere you looked, everything was burning. So I looked over and found the horse trough and jumped in. The water was green -- I don't care. It saved my life." He stayed in the trough for at least three hours.

 

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