'She was running down the hill and the fire was right behind her'

'She was running down the hill and the fire was right behind her' »Play Video
Photo courtesy Action News viewer Stephen King
SELAH, Wash. -- Firefighters spent Monday keeping hot spots under control in the valley.

Lightning can do some serious damage in these hot and dry conditions. It sparked a ten acre fire in Selah late Sunday night.

A lawn chair is the only thing left after a fire destroyed Verner Woelk's home off Tibbling Road in Selah.

It's a wonder from the video recorded by a neighbor Sunday night that no other homes burned.

Homeowner Verner Woelk was helping a neighbor when the fire started. He came back to find everything he owned had gone up in flames. His wife was nowhere to be found.

"She was running down the hill and the fire was right behind her," Woelk said.

Woelk said he was coming up the hill as his wife ran down, so he did not see her.

"For the first two hours, I didn't know if my wife was alright or not," he said.

Neighbors tried to help.

"My husband tried to go into their driveway, but it was just too smoky and too much fire you couldn't get in there," said neighbor Marilyn Briscoe.

They called 911, but by the time firefighters got there about 10 acres were engulfed in flames.

"I never thought it would be that fast. It was just minutes, not minutes, seconds."

Firefighters say strong wind and rain knocked a power pole over sparking a grass fire. That fire moved along Tibbling Road, jumped across the hill and eventually hit their home.

KIMA: "Is there anyway people can prevent these type of fires?"

"Not really," said Selah Fire Chief Jerry Davis. "This is an act of nature."

"We are alive, we have to make a new start," Woelk said.

Firefighters fought five fires Sunday in Selah alone. All of them sparked by utility poles. This one took about six hours to control.

The Woelks don't have insurance. A relief fund has been set up for them at the Selah Banner Bank.