Steve Pinzak said he saw smoke at Dog Creek on the afternoon of Sept. 5, and 20 minutes later, he heard the roar of what he thought was a retardant plane flying over his trailer at Lamoine, near Slate Creek.
“But it wasn’t a plane,” he said a couple weeks ago while waiting for a representative from FEMA to visit his burned belongings. “It was the roar of the fire coming.”
Pinzak, age 68, was living at Cedar Lodge in Dunsmuir after he lost everything he owned to the Delta Fire, with the exception of his beloved English Pointer, Rilee.
“Pretty quick the white smoke turned into orange flames and that fire had a wind behind it,” Pinzak said. “It just started pushing it. It was going up one ridge and then down the other side and just coming this way and it was totally out of control.
“There was no time to get anything,” Pinzak said. “I just got my dog and some of her food, and ran. When I pulled out, the flames were right there on the road, and they were just consuming everything they could,” he said.
A retired logger who was disabled in a logging accident years ago, Pinzak said he’s not sure what he will do next. He is left with his furry friend and the clothes on his back.
Dunsmuir’s Sam Blanton, who worked in the logging industry with Pinzak and has known him for 30 years, saw his friend being interviewed on KRCR Channel 7 news and then tracked down Pinzak’s daughter, Kimberly, on Facebook. He was excited to see his old friend again at Cedar Lodge but was sad to hear what had happened. So Blanton decided to set up a Go Fund Me campaign to assist Pinzak in his time of need.
Kimberly said her father is in need of surgery to repair his back, which was injured in the logging accident. “He is on a fixed income, and he can’t do what he loves in life, which was logging.”
She said he’s most upset to have lost “irreplaceable items, like things he made with his own dad” as well as old photographs and other memorabilia.
The Go Fund Me campaign started by Blanton for Steve Pinzak had raised $1,000 of a $5,000 goal as of Sept. 26. Pinzak said whatever is raised will go toward helping him get a new trailer to sit in the same place where he’s lived since the early 1970s.
He is unsure “how the numbers will work out” with the insurance company since his trailer was financed. “It’s been a tumultuous experience,” Pinzak said. He’s determined to “adapt and overcome.”
If you would like to contribute to Pinzak’s Go Fund Me, go to www.gofundme.com/ddgjx-fire-victim.
Blanton posted an update on Sept. 26 saying, “I want to thank all donors to Steve Pinzak campaign. We are still looking for more funds to help him get another trailer before the winter sets in.”