Man disregards evacuation order, defends his home from wildfire

Posted at 10:06 PM, Aug 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-17 00:11:21-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah -- During our coverage of the Rockport 5 fire, we’ve talked live on the phone to a man who refused to leave his home for two days.

As of Friday night, Russ Moseley’s house is still standing in Rockport Estates, and he's talking on-camera for the first time.

Russ Moseley watched his neighbors' homes go up in flames and thought his was next.

“And it went very quickly once it first started,” Moseley said.

When lightning sparked the Rockport 5 fire Tuesday, FOX 13 first encountered a frantic Russ Moseley over the phone.

“I'm petrified, I'm emotional, but I can't quit. I can't leave this no matter what,” Moseley said.

He was buried under a blanket of smoke in the Rockport Estates.

“The wife had called me over and over pleading for me to get out because from her vantage point it looked like I was standing in the middle of the flames,” he said.

However, with his Pomeranian "Yote" in his air-conditioned truck nearby and a garden hose in hand, Moseley remained determined.

“I think part of that comes from my combat experience way back when, when I was young and dumb,” he said.

The Vietnam veteran watched five neighbors’ homes burn to the ground.

“It was beyond heart-wrenching,” he said.

With his truck packed and ready to escape, he stayed two days, not getting a wink of sleep. He stayed up the entire time, spraying his property and updating FOX 13 as the flames crawled closer.

“The fire has burned everything within a hundred feet of my house,” Moseley said over the phone.

Did you think: "I'm gonna die here" asked reporter Gene Kennedy.

“Twice,” Moseley replied.  “Twice I said to myself, this might be it.”

But at the last-minute, fire fighters arrived.

“Suddenly you'd hear this big roar behind you, and it was a fire truck backing down the hill,” he said.

They saved his property three times.

"Oh these guys are definitely heroes,” he added.

And now Moseley has left his home in their hands.

When Thursday rolled around, the power was out, his water gone, so Moseley decided it was time to leave.

“I was exhausted, I was really dirty, I was emotionally wrenched out pretty good," he said.