A life reduced to ashes
June 27, 2007
When he saw the video on the news, Jayson Tyndall thought the burning house looked like his home on Tahoe Boulevard.
Then he saw the solar lights in the front yard – the unique solar lights he had bought because they were different.
“When I saw those lights on television and the flames behind it, that’s how I knew it was my house that was on fire,” Tyndall said.
Tuesday morning, Tyndall returned to the plot of land where his home used to stand, only to find a pile of rubble. He was weeding his front yard when he saw the fire. It was moving so fast he barely had time to get his dogs and his insurance papers and leave.
The fire destroyed his shed, house and garage, but the grass in his front yard was untouched.
“That’s all I cared about was seeing it. Making sure it’s gone,” Tyndall said.
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He walked over to his blue Ford truck, stuck the key in the ignition, and it started right up.
“Look at the taillights. It melted the taillights, but other than that it runs fine,” he said.
Ten feet away, his motorcycle had been reduced to warped scraps of metal.
Tyndall is staying with Jenny Paluga, a friend of his who accompanied him back to his home on Tuesday.
“Here’s where the counter was. Here’s all the dishes, smashed. I can’t believe it’s all gone,” Paluga said.
As he searched through the rubble, looking for anything that might have survived, Tyndall was surprised at how hot the fire had burned. In what used to be his den, he found what remained of his mountain bike, reduced to a cooled pool of metal the size of a bike helmet.
It was not how he pictured spending his Tuesday. He was supposed to pick up his younger sister Jillian from Northern California. She was planning on staying with him for the summer.
“We were going to put the boat into the water for the first time tomorrow,” he said. “It still had the bubble-wrap on it.”
What remains of his fiberglass boat was melted to the trailer.
Yet Tyndall did find things that survived. He was able to uncover his short sword and his shot glass rack as well as a ceramic Jack-O-Lantern.
“My mom made that for me when I was like 6 years old,” he said. “I can’t believe that survived.”
Across the street, Sue Abrams’ house was spared, the fire got as far as her back fence before stopping.
“When we evacuated, we thought we were in the same boat as everyone else. To get a call saying your house is still here, you don’t believe it,” Abrams said. “It was happy for a while, until we saw those around us lost everything.”
Tyndall said he has already talked to his insurance company, and they are being very helpful.
“They told me to save all my receipts. They told me they are basically paying for my life for the next year,” he said. “They said they would pay for anything I bought on my credit cards for the last four years.
“It’s nice, but it’s not my house. I can’t go home.”