A California woman has taken in a 93-year-old World War II veteran who was unsure whether his home had been charred by the Camp Fire.
Tracy Grant, of Oroville, was handing out hamburgers at the Forebay Aquatic Center when she met Lee Brundige.
Once smoke hindered the air quality around the center – just 20 miles south of Paradise – the 43-year-old convinced the frazzled Brundige to come with her home.
‘When I first met him, I knew he was special,’ Grant explained to the San Francisco Chronicle. ‘He was the only person in this parking lot who was by himself with no one else with him. I made it my mission to keep my eye on him. When the rangers came, I went up to him and said, ‘You’re coming with me.”
Tracy Grant, of Oroville, (right) was handing out hamburgers at the Forebay Aquatic Center when she met 93-year-old Lee Brundige (center). She told her boyfriend, Josh Fox (left), that they were letting the veteran stay with them for a while
The veteran hadn’t changed in two days so Grant provided him with a bathrobe while she washed his clothes.
She called her boyfriend – Josh Fox – who immediately stopped to buy clothes for Brundige while on his way home from his job in Sacramento.
‘I just want to warn you, there’s a man in your recliner wearing your robe,’ she told him. ‘And he’s the cutest little 93-year-old you’ve met.’
And the two immediately hit it off as Fox was a history buff captivated with details surrounding World War II. Both of his late grandfathers had served in the war.
Fox was a history buff captivated with details surrounding World War II so he immediately connected with the veteran. He had gotten Brundige clothes because the man hadn’t changed in two days
‘They hit it off when Lee said he was the littlest guy in his unit so they made him be the tail gunner over the South Pacific,’ Grant explained.
Brundige has been made to feel right at home at the couple’s residence, even going so far to cozy up with their dog – Axle – on their recliner.
Brundige has been made to feel right at home at the couple’s residence, even going so far to cozy up with their dog – Axle – on their recliner
He had been living in his home that he built with his late wife. His son, a man in his 70s living in Southern California, knows about his father’s current whereabouts.
At the moment, his neighborhood hasn’t shown up on any fire damage maps.
But according to Grant, some of the man’s neighbors ‘have lost homes’ and that leads them to believe that his home is ‘probably gone.’
And because of that, the vintage store owner has extended her home to the veteran for the foreseeable future.
‘I thought if that were my grandpa, where would I want him to be,’ she said. ‘He’s so sweet. He has the bluest eyes. The sweetest smile. I see my grandfather in him. We told him this could be his forever home but that is totally up to him.’
The Camp Fire in the Paradise area is now the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state’s history, killing at least 56 people and destroying more than 6,500 homes and 260 buildings as it burned through more than 160,000 acres. In total 59 have died in California wildfires.
After six days, the blaze only remains 35 percent contained and more than 200 people are still missing.
The Camp Fire is now the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state’s history