United States

Member of US Fencing Team's Home Destroyed in Clayton Fire

Matthew Porterr, the armorer for Team USA, was told by his wife that she fled their home, grabbing only their pets

A member of the U.S. fencing team saw his Olympic elation quickly turn to devastation when he discovered that his house in Northern California had been destroyed in the Clayton Fire.

Matthew Porter is the armorer for Team USA fencing, the man who makes sure everything works and fits so the athletes can focus. On Saturday, he was celebrating the team's historic wins in Rio. The next day, his wife told him she fled their brand new home in Lower Lake, grabbing only the family pets.

"I ran off so fast, without my purse and count myself lucky to have gotten out," Karen Porter said. "The smoke was getting pretty heavy at that point."

Matthew Porter took the first flight out of Rio. On Wednesday, the couple tried to check on the home, but an officer at a roadblock confirmed it was gone.

The Porters were given an aerial photograph of the charred area.

"That's our cul-de-sac," he said, looking at the photo. "That's our spot, that kind of burned heap in the middle."

The couple lost a lifetime of mementos, along with their fencing supply company that was "The equipment, the computers, the records and everything," Karen Porter said. "The blades, everything is gone."

The Porters hadn't purchased fire insurance yet. Everything they own now is in their car. Still, after all the ups and downs of the past week, they are optimistic.

"As long as she's safe, I told her the rest is just paperwork," Matthew Porter said. "We'll get through it."

Longtime friends of the Porters have set up GoFundMe account to help the couple recover.

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