By TOM YAZWINSKI
Q13 FOX News
BREWSTER, Wash. — Two members of the Washington State Patrol left their own belongings behind to help evacuate and protect others in the Carlton Complex Fire — and lost their homes.
State Patrol Sgt. Lex Lindquist was hard at work on July 17, the night the wildfire came sweeping through Okanogan County.
“When I left my home that evening, I had a very strong feeling that my home was not going to be there in the morning,” he said Wednesday.
There’s not much left of his property in Brewster. While Lindquist was on his shift, his wife and kids evacuated just as the flames hit their driveway. Luckily, they escaped injury.
Trooper Ted Shook had just completed a shift when he was called back to work to help with evacuations near his hometown of Pateros.
“You take a look at the absolute devastation, it hits you,” Shook said. “There’s nothing left.
“And it was hard to turn people away knowing that I, myself, wanted to go home. But I knew there was a job that needed to be done and people needed to be sometimes protected from themselves.”
When he was done, he came home to the rubble you see here.
“I didn’t get anything (out),” he said. “I left the house with the uniform on my back and everything that was in my patrol car.”
His truck sits in the driveway where he left it, military awards and other personal items, turned to ashes.
They are just two of the dozens of stories of people who have lost houses and cars. And these two men are back working their normal shifts, leaning on fellow troopers and family to get by.
“My niece wrote me two ‘sorry’ letters in case one burned up on the way over,” he said. But I couldn`t ask for a greater group of friends or family to help me through the times.”
“It`s hard to lose everything. I`ve never lost everything before.”