Family sifts through home burned by Mulberry Fire - Tucson News Now

Family sifts through home burned by Mulberry Fire

Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
Source: KOLD Source: KOLD

The front door used to serve as a welcoming entrance for Joe Barr and his family. Now that it's burned by the Mulberry Fire, it's a passageway to a property filled with melted memories.

"It's material stuff," he said.

Barr envisioned the ruined outcome from down the Santa Rita mountains, near his Corona de Tucson home Saturday afternoon, May 6.

"I looked up and saw the smoke coming out of those mountains," Barr said Sunday afternoon. "I had a feeling because the smoke was coming around all this side over there, and I knew it was too close."

He knew it was closing in on his 78-year-old widowed mother's property. It was a place where, just about two weeks before, Elizabeth Ecret saw the nearby 46,991-acre Sawmill Fire getting closer. Barr said she was home at the time and was prepared to evacuate her home of more than 25 years.

This time around, Ecret was long gone. Barr was thankful that his mother was visiting her grandchildren in Indiana when the 1,750-acre Mulberry Fire sparked on Saturday.

"If she was here, she would've grabbed what she could and put it in her car and got off the mountain like she was supposed to. But she's tough. She would've waited until the last minute," he said laughing. "Then we would've been up here dragging her off the mountain."

No structures were touched by flames in the Sawmill Fire. According to fire officials, four structures were destroyed by the Mulberry Fire. Fire officials said there were no reports of injuries. 

At least two of the structures destroyed were residences of widows, Barr said. 

"Once I knew she wasn't there, it was a matter of waiting. That was killing us most."

He had to wait to see what had become of the place he and his family knew well. Seeing it Sunday, as they were sifting through the ash and charred appliances, was distinctly different from their memories of joy in the Mulberry Canyon home. 

"[My mom] was safe. The only stress I have on me right now is how my mom's going to feel - how she's going to take it. That's about it. Because I know we've got a big family and a lot of friends. We'll be able to plow this thing right on down and cover it up, and build a new house right here."

The family set up a GoFundMe page to help that rebuilding effort. They intend to restore the home and all those moments.

"This is where we have all of our holidays and all of our parties, right here," Barr said. "So I imagine we will again."

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