GOLETA, Calif – A family that recently moved from Lehi to southern California, lost almost everything they own in a wildfire.
The Durtschi family moved into their Goleta, Calif. home on June 22. They weren’t finished unpacking their belongings when the fire tore through their home.
Eric Durtschi captured dramatic video of the Holiday Fire as it was approaching the home’s backyard.
“Oh, gosh! I got to go, here it is,” he says in the video.
The family began smelling smoke around 8:45 p.m. Friday night. Minutes later, they were out of the home.
“I just saw these massive flames roaring towards the house and the entire area behind us was already gone,” Durtschi said.
Eric, his wife and their six children found safety at a friend’s house. As they watched reports of the fire on the local news, their worst fears came to life.
“Around midnight, we saw our house, live on TV, burning,” Durtschi said.
Hours later Eric went back to the neighborhood to look at the damage.
“I just couldn’t sleep, so I just walked up here --it was still dark -- just to try and prepare myself for it so I could compose myself and figure out what I’m going to tell my family.”
With no renter’s insurance to help replace what was destroyed, Eric didn’t know what to do.
“I was heartbroken. I was honestly, hopeless,” he said.
That despair turned to hope after receiving an outpouring of support from friends and strangers in both California and Utah.
“In my entire life, I never imagined I could be surrounded by so much love and support at a time when it was so needed. I ended the day feeling, we can do this,” he said.
Eric is thankful his family made it out safely and together, they plan to rebuild their lives.
“I am an extreme optimist. So much so that it’s probably annoying for a lot of people," he said. "I always see the silver lining, but I don’t know any other way to be,” Eric said.
A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help the family buy new clothes and household items and secure new housing.