SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Shannon and Doug Esch lost their home of 42 years, but they are staying positive with the help of their neighbors and friends who all escaped the Holiday Farm Fire.
"There's just so many memories and treasures there, but I have my family and that's the most important," Shannon said.
The Esch family was out of town when the fire hit, so they were unable to return to their home and save any belongings. Instead, Shannon spent the entire night making sure she called all of her friends and neighbors and warned them to escape the area as soon as possible. In some instances their neighbors were fast asleep and without the call from Shannon, they would have had no idea danger was approaching.
But Shannon's act of heroism is not uncommon in their family, which has served the community in many ways. Doug served as a volunteer firefighter for the McKenzie River Fire Department, their son Branden serves as a police officer with Eugene Police, and their other son Jeremy is a firefighter with the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department and is currently working to put out the fire that left his parents with essentially just the clothes on their backs.
"The biggest benefit is they are well-trained and I think they know they have safety zones they can escape to and they do a risk-benefit analysis, but they do take risks," Doug said in reference to his son Jeremy fighting the current fire.
"The fire department, they're brothers, and they watch each other's back," Shannon added.
And as the Eschs mourn the loss of their family home, they're also trying to remember it wasn't a special place to just them.
"We've been there for so long that our children, all of their friends, all of them came to our house to play, and a lot of their families have moved and we're one of the only childhood homes that were left that they remember, and so we've had them reach out to us because they had fun at our house too," Shannon said.
But instead of wallowing in pity, the Esch family is staying positive with support from the community that they have served for decades.
"At this time I can't even imagine going through this without all the loving people in our lives, and the people that I don't know that well that have reached out," Shannon said.