As firefighters continue to work to control the hideout fire in Lake County, a man was able to locate his dogs after they separated.
The camper van of Clearlake resident Rodney Gehlen was destroyed by the cache fire. It was one of the 50 destroyed houses.
“He roared through and through,” he said.
Gehlen said it was the second time in 45 days that the fire had destroyed his home. He was living in the RV after his home in Clearlake burned down last month.
As the flames moved closer to Gehlen’s camper van, he said he rushed to round up his three dogs, tying them up each so he could focus on one at a time. But the wind-driven fire was moving too fast.
Gehlen said police showed up and ordered him to escape with them. But he couldn’t come back for his dogs. Gehlen returned to the area the same night to find one of his dogs. But he feared the other two were dead.
Days later, North Bay Animal Control Officer Emily Crum checked out the property.
“We were about to leave. I happened to see on the side under the hitch of the trailer. I thought it was dead, “she said.
Crum told NBC Bay Area she approached the dog when she noticed he was limping.
“I walked over and saw her blink and wag her tail, she’s alive,” she added.
Miraculously, the dog, whose name is Sammie, was not burned. Officials said Sammie was just smeared with flame retardant stains.
An hour later, the officer, Crum found Gehle’s other dog and he was quickly reunited with his pets at a local shelter.
“Ecstatic, I really love these dogs,” he said. “They have been with me for a long time. They are part of my family.
Gehlen told NBC Bay Area on Saturday that he had found new accommodation. He hopes to get his three dogs back from the shelter next week to truly be reunited with his family of furry survivors.
“I can’t wait to get them back,” he said.