Marion County, Ore – A Fm News 101 KXL Exclusive from reporter Jacob Dean. A man in Marion county has ignored evacuation orders to save his home, and other homes around him.
KXL’s Jacob Dean talked with man – who some are calling a hero.
I went to high school with Bill Garton. He lives – just east of Gates off highway 22. He’s a navy vet. He posted a short video on Facebook showing him on a tractor trying to make fire lines around buildings as flames from Oregon’s biggest wildfire – the Beachie creek fire – are just feet away from him. It’s stunning to watch.
He says within two hours – he was on his tractor – running around the property putting out fires. He saved two homes that have been in his family since 1912, for over a century, but he lost all of their sheds and barns – and one of the tractor tires popped from the fire.
I asked him if he’s still concerned about the fire threat coming towards his place, he says no because literally everything that could burn – has already burned and the area is decimated.
Bill wanted to thank Pacific Power for getting his power restored about five days after the windstorm hit, but he’s been wondering why action wasn’t taken sooner on the Beachie creek fire, that was burning for two weeks before the wind storm helped it explode.
Today marks one month since that fire started, and all things considered, Bill says he’s doing okay and he still has a little sense of humor. I asked him since he’s kind of trapped inside the evacuation zone, is there anything people could do to help? He says he could really go for a nice bottle of whiskey right about now, but he has food and water. The fire did not damage their well water.
Bill says he feels like if more people wouldn’t have evacuated Gates – they maybe could’ve saved more homes.