Local News

Fire forces Elmer City family to beat hasty retreat

ELMER CITY, Wash. - Grabbing her kids and some photographs, Shelly Black fled her Elmer City home as the flames approached, retreating with the thought she was about to lose everything.

"Still trying to soak it all in I guess because it's like it was a dream or something that happened," Black said Thursday morning, reflecting on the events of the last 24 hours.

Wednesday morning around 9 a.m. everything seemed fine. The wind was pushing the wildfire up over the ridge away from Black's home. Within half an hour the winds shifted and she was in the line of fire.

"My husband Brett called to say or just started yelling 'We need to be moving we need to be getting out' and by the time we came into the house it started to crest that hill," she said.

Elmer City family

She grabbed her kids, the family pictures, and tore out of her driveway as firefighters were making their way up to the approaching fire line.

"We couldn't get back up for ... a while ... and so we just sat down and watched," she said.

She watched as her home became enveloped in smoke, thinking that everything her family owned was gone. Within minutes, the land all around Shelly Black's Elmer City home was charred by flames.

As fast as the fire had come barreling toward her home, it scorched the land all around but never touched the house, an eerie sight as her home stands like an island in a sea of blackened sagebrush.

"We have our house so we're thankful, you know, we're thankful to all the guys who did everything to help us it was a blessing for us and all of our neighbors," Black said.

"God was definitely looking over us and the fire crew was amazing too," Black said.

No one has been injured and no homes have been lost to the fire.

As of Thursday afternoon officials said the Elmer City fire was 70-percent contained, though it would probably be another three days before they reached full containment.