OREGON (KPTV) — The Beachie Creek Fire tore through nearly 200,000 acres of land from Detroit to Lyons and beyond two years ago this fall.
“At 1:30 a.m. I hear this thing waking me up. It’s a megaphone and it says get out now,” Diana McGuire said. I managed to get in about 20 mins I ran away to free my chickens and said “babies you are alone”.
One of the homes destroyed by the fire was that of Diana and Steve McGuire. They were only able to see the damage a month after the fire.
“It didn’t blow us away until we walked on the property and saw it for ourselves. It was a bit too much, you know? she says. “Your life is everything. It was our retirement home. I called this place my little slice of heaven. Everything I wanted, everything he wanted. We were as happy as a lark, and off we went. It’s all gone.”
Four months to the day after having to evacuate their corner of paradise, her husband Steve died of an aortic aneurysm. McGuire said the stress of it all was to blame.
The only way she gets through the next year is through her children – and the kindness of volunteers, or as she likes to call them, angels.
“We were lucky my daughter found this RV we live in,” McGuire said. “I installed it here, and angels began to emerge from the woodwork. Someone for the water, someone for the electricity. It just worked. It just worked.
Some of these angels are members of the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of the Associated General Contractors.
Last February, AGC, with the help of local volunteers, began constructing free sheds to help fire victims store their belongings as they began to rebuild their homes and lives.
“To get to know them and hear their story and maybe see a picture of the house they had, you really connect with these people and it makes you feel really, really good,” said Bill Smith, vice -president of Parker. , Smith and Feek. “The other thing is that we still have a lot of hangars to build. We will try to reach 80 by May 26, but the reality is that we will need more this fall and we will need more people to help us build. You can Sign up to help build sheds.
They have built nearly 70 hangars so far and McGuire was one of the first to have one.
“I can put things in there, I have tools and stuff that I can now store without worrying about them going away,” she said. “It was a godsend. I mean, when you bang your head against a wall thinking, ‘how are we going to do this?’ It was the answer. A simple little shed, it’s amazing what they can do. I mean, it was huge.
Fast forward to today, McGuire’s shed sits next to her new home, which is almost complete. It has some special touches to remember Steve.
“He had a hand in it, and I’m sure he’s looking down. I mean, especially our fireplace. We always wanted this and this is it,” she said in tears. “For example, that coat up there, it milled.”
McGuire said volunteers are still needed in multiple ways in the area and people should contact United Way to find out how they can help.
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