FAIRFIELD — A Cordelia couple was trying to salvage what they could Saturday, a day after a fire reduced their home to a pile of blackened rubble.
“You found my ring,” Heather Thornton said after her husband Evan produced the engagement ring that she had put away in a jewelry case.
“I was looking for the blade of my knife and found a little box,” he said.
The case was burned, but the diamond ring was still encased.
Heather Thornton’s emotions were fragile after they lost their home to the fire that spread from the other side of Interstate 680 and took down their house and several outbuildings. Evan and Heather Thornton had recently wed at the courthouse, but were planning an October ceremony in their backyard.
“I can’t believe it. That’s crazy. How does he find this?” she said to her mother, Amy Montana, who also lived in the home.
Montana said they lost everything in the fire and only managed to salvage a few tools and the ring from the rubble.
“I lost everything, the kids lost pretty much everything,” she said. “We just had a minute to get out. I filled my backpack with dialysis supplies and we had to get out.”
Heather Thornton said she could feel the heat from the approaching fire while they were leaving. Her husband had to go back for the car keys and they grabbed her wedding dress before finally getting away.
“It’s all I have left – and this,” she said, holding her new-found ring.
The five-acre fire started about 3:45 p.m. Friday on Lopes Road on the west side of Interstate 680, said Cordelia Fire Chief Jay Huyssoon. It jumped the southbound lane, got into the median and jumped to the other side of the interstate, where one house burned along with at least four outbuildings, he said.
Reported winds of up to 35 mph and tall, dry grass fueled the blaze, he said.
The fire spread through the backyards of a pocket of homes on Cordelia Road at Central Way and moved to the Thornton house. Fire crews managed to keep the blaze from burning homes on Thompson Court, just north of the field.
Huyssoon worked to keep the fire from Thompson’s Corner, which is next to the Cordelia Fire Protection District station. He said if Thompson’s Corner would have caught on fire, the fire station would have as well.
“The 1939 burndown of Cordelia wasn’t going to happen on my watch,” he said.
Cordelia resident Shamar Baz said her Thompson Court home sustained some damage.
“Our whole house is melted on the side,” she said.
Baz said the fire took down a shed that contained all her work materials for her party-planning business.
“I lost my whole business,” she said.
Thompson’s Corner will donate 10 percent of its sales to fire victims Sunday and Monday. To donate to the Thorntons, visit www.gofundme.com/ajz4vo.
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.