A Yurok elder is working to rebuild her home after a fire earlier this month

Louise Moorehead, standing inside her living room after house fire. | Photo by Karina Ramos Villalobos

Around 7 p.m. on March 12 Louise Moorehead came home and found her home filled with smoke in Klamath. She immediately stepped back outside.

“[I] couldn’t see a thing,” Moorehead said. “So I said, I’m out of here. Closed the door [and] came back out, what is going on?”

Moorehead’s grandson arrived at the scene before the Klamath Fire Department. He was the one to turn on the garden hose that saved his grandmother’s home. The grandson fought the fire for about 20 minutes before the volunteer firefighters arrived.

Earlier that day, Moorehead cleaned her stove and a fan was left on by her grandson when they were in the house at different times. There was also paper close to the area. She thinks thats how the fire sparked.

“It burnt up like everything that was nearby,” said Paula Aubrey, the granddaughter to Moorehead. “All the books and the tv stand and her chair was all melted. “There was just like fire everywhere, on the ceiling, the walls, all of the stuff—every single room.”

At the moment the family is gathering estimates on how much repairs would cost. They hope to restore the home but they know they still have a lot of work to do. 

“We’re hoping to be able to restore it so she can live here again,” Aubrey said. “Because this is her home and she’s almost 80 years old and this was her safe place. So it’s really scary that happened. But I’m just glad that nobody was here when it occurred. She is safe and my brother is safe.”

Lousie Moorehead standing with her granddaughter Paula Aubrey in front of Klamath home. | Photo by Karina Ramos Villalobos

The family received support from many including the American Red Cross, the Northern California Indian Development Council and family and community members. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Moorehead has had to rebuild. In 1992, she lost her home due to an electrical fire. 

Moorehead’s home needs new drywall, flooring, ceiling and much more. She’s staying with her family until the home is repaired. Her granddaughter set up a GoFundMe page to help with repair costs.

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