Family narrowly escapes Highway 16 Fire, property damaged

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by Karen Zatkulak

KREM.com

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 17 at 12:20 PM

EAGLE, Idaho -- An Eagle family is thankful for the quick work that saved their home Tuesday night.

The Higginsons have owned property just off Highway 16 for generations.

They were just about a mile away last night when they saw lightning strike near their home and raced back.

William Higginson says it was a very close call and his mother had just minutes to get out.

"She got here just in time to get important stuff together and to get out of here, they were literally racing the flames down this road to the highway, right as cops were telling them they need to get out," said Higginson.

We were there Wednesday morning as Higginson saw the damage for the first time in daylight. He showed us the barn and shed that the fire destroyed, along with the well house.

"All of this stuff to the highway belongs to us, it's pretty charred," said Higginson.

The flames came within feet of the family's home, surrounding the property as the Higginsons tried to get out as quickly as they could.

"Oh it was very close, it was really really close," said Higginson.

Fire crews from several agencies spent Tuesday night working to keep the flames from taking homes. Firefighters estimate that the fire blackened about 1,000 acres. Ada County officials evacuated 30 families, and shut down a section of Highway 16.

It reopened around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Investigators believe lightning started that fire. On Wednesday, crews were still working to put out hot spots in the area.

 

Eagle Fire Division Chief Nevil Humphreys says the crews battled strong winds and bad conditions.

"With the hot dry weather, extremely hot, these lightning storms coming through, makes for a bad mixture," said Humphreys.

Now, Higginson is thankful for the firefighters' quick work containing the flames.

"I'm just lucky that they did a great job of protecting our house and all is well, we all got evacuated, and everyone is safe and that's the important part," said Higginson.

But he says it's still shocking to see how close the fire came to his family's home.

"It's just kind of heart-wrenching, a little scary too but it's OK, we'll move on," said Higginson.

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