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Colfax Man Who Left Just Before River Fire To Adopt Dog Returns To Find Home Burned

COLFAX (CBS13) — Hours turned into days as people in fire-ravaged areas waited to get back to assess the damage.

"That dog possibly saved my life, I don't know," said Reinhart Auf Dem Venne.

Reinhart and his dog, Zoe, were waiting for word on what's left.

"My neighbor just told me not to have any hopes," he said with a sigh.

Reinhart was called to the Bay Area after a friend found a stray and suggested he adopt her.

"We bonded," he said.

So the two were out of town as the River Fire rolled up the mountain.

"We are on the ridge, so the wind starts in the valley and drives up the flames," he said.

As Reinhart later found it, the River Fire burned his home on Wildwood Lane to the ground.

"I lost pretty much everything," he said.

As folks are allowed to return to their homes, you could see on one side of the road it could be a total loss and on the other side - and just 100 feet away could have been saved.

The semi-retired Reinhart moved to Colfax years ago for a simpler life. Now, he's just thankful his life was spared.

"If I had turned my phone off, I don't know what would have happened because the fire eventually reached the house. Maybe that's fate, I don't know."

Authorities will have several points of re-entry for homeowners on Monday where they will go over safety precautions and protocols.

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