Bay Area Resident Helps Rescue Cousin in SoCal Wildfire - NBC Bay Area
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Bay Area Resident Helps Rescue Cousin in SoCal Wildfire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bay Area resident Ron Snow describes his 84-year-old cousin John Hockaday as a fighter. So he wasn’t surprised to hear Hockaday refused to evacuate when flames started tearing through the hills near his home in San Bernardino County. Michelle Roberts reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016)

    Bay Area resident Ron Snow describes his 84-year-old cousin John Hockaday as a fighter.

    So he wasn’t surprised to hear Hockaday refused to evacuate when flames from the Blue-Cut Fire started tearing through the hills near his home in San Bernardino County.

    "We tried to make sure he had safety first, but he did want to save his house," said Snow, who lives on the Peninsula. "That’s his life."

    However, when Snow couldn’t get in touch with his cousin, he started to panic, searching for more information. He pulled up a live stream from the NBC Los Angeles website.

    "Pan out, and I could see it was his house," said Snow, who called 911 after seeing his cousin's truck go up in flames. "We couldn’t get the right kind of response back from emergency response."

    Snow then called a reporter at the NBC LA station, and that reporter reached out to fire officials. Within the hour, firefighters navigated the rugged terrain and rescued Hockaday from his front yard.

    "I was going to go down with the ship," said an ash-covered Hockaday who admitted he was exhausted - and still worried the fire will burn his home.

    Hockaday, who gets around with help from a walker, continues to prove to his family and himself that he’s a fighter.

    "Thank the lord, I guess," he said. "I aint dead yet."

    Hockaday's shed and outhouse burned Tuesday, but his home that was built in 1928 still stands.

    The evacuation order is still in place, but Hockaday refuses to leave.

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