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Washington man’s concrete-dome home survives wildfire

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OMAK, Wash. (KXLY) — The Okanogan County complex fire has grown to more than 239,000 acres and is about 10-percent contained. Fire crews don’t know how many homes have been destroyed.

One man rode out the firestorm in the comfort of his living room, even as a wall of flames 20 feet high marched right around him.

“The fire was at this draw right here,” said homeowner John Belles. “We didn’t have time to do much of anything. The fire was like 30 yards or so to the north of me when I decided to go into the building.”

Belles built his concrete, monolithic dome in 1999 after he bought some property near Riverside. It’s designed to withstand Mother Nature’s fury, and that’s exactly what it did as he rode out the firestorm inside.

“I didn’t know how it was going to work out, but I figured I was safe inside the building. It was cool and well protected with the concrete and everything,” he said.

Belles watched the flames rip across the windows.

“After the fire passed I came back outside and their was no damage what so ever.”

He then shot a video of the flames and charred earth.

“I was surprised that the PVC skin on the house didn’t get scorched, but apparently all that water kept it from heating up,” he said.

Belles says he knows the risks of living in this valley. That’s why he took the steps to build a home that could survive a wildfire, and because he was prepared he didn’t have to depend on anyone else to protect his home.

“It’s a perfect example of the authorities being spread thin and not being able to take care of everybody, you know, you can’t depend on that you have to prepare.”