CALIENTE, Calif. (KGET) — When Robert Higgins left his cabin in Caliente two weeks ago, he had a gut feeling it would be the last time he laid eyes on the summer home in the mountains where his family shared so many memories.
Higgins said something told him to say “goodbye” to the cabin. The feeling was so strong he even mentioned it to his wife before they made the trip back home to Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, the Stagecoach Fire transformed that suspicion into reality when its flames swept across Higgins’ property, marching up to his cabin in a conflagration caught on home surveillance cameras. He and his family watched the fire approach through those cameras.
“All of us were sitting there watching it just with our — my kids and my wife and me — just our jaws were on the floor,” Higgins said. “Like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this is happening.'”
Higgins said he bought the Caliente property about seven years ago. His family used it as a second home, making frequent trips to hike and ride dirt bikes. He said the locals accepted them and they’ve made many friends in the area.
“We’re outdoor folks and we just fell in love with that area,” he said.
While losing the cabin and possibly his family’s connection to the mountains “turns my stomach,” Higgins said there are others who have lost all their belongings to the flames. He’s praying for them.
As of Wednesday night, the Stagecoach Fire, which erupted Monday afternoon, had burned 4,250 acres, destroyed three structures and was 10 percent contained.