JAMUL, Calif. — On Tuesday, News 8 met families that lost pets and their homes in the Valley Fire. Turns out, they are far from alone.
Several properties on West Boundary Truck Trail back right up to the Cleveland National Forest. Residents saw smoke Saturday afternoon, but it seemed like it was miles away. Just a couple hours later, they were running for their lives.
Jaqueline Joseph's security cameras caught the flames as they raced toward her family's home in Jamul. Her immediate thought as she watched the video?: “I'm pretty sure we just lost our home!”
Jaqueline grabbed her kids and pets and quickly left the area.
“I got into town and I had no shoes,” she said. “No clothes.”
Jaqueline's husband stayed a few minutes longer to set off sprinklers that sprayed their home. It’s a move that paid off because when he returned to the property the next morning, he called Jaqueline with some amazing news.
“He's like, 'you're not going to believe this, but our house hasn't been touched' and I just started crying," said Jacqueline.
While the house was saved, the rest of their property didn't fare as well. They lost their solar panels and their well, leaving them with no power or water and, to make a bad situation worse, they don't have any insurance because they still needed a final inspection from the county.
“Because the coronavirus happened, our paperwork basically sat on the county's desk for the last seven months,” Jaqueline said.
Blake Campos lives just down the road from the Josephs and his family's farm also got hit hard. Not only did he lose his home, but their office and all of their inventory was destroyed. Their business, No Boundaries Farm, was decimated. The family grows hemp for medicinal use.
“You don't get high from this stuff,” said Blake’s father, Eddie. “This is the medicinal side of the cannabis plant.”
All of their finished products that were ready for sale and many of their plants did not survive. This was despite them trying to fight the flames back with garden hoses until the heat got too intense.
“When it got to the top of the ridge, I would say it was 60- to 70-foot flames just barreling down the hill,” Blake said.
The family is estimating their losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and they also did not have any insurance. But both the Campos' and the Josephs are thankful that they all escaped the flames without any injuries.
“We're very, very, very lucky,” Jaqueline said. “We feel very fortunate.”