Willow Creek Family Loses Home to Early Morning Fire

A family’s home burned yesterday morning. [Photo provided by Shelly Middleton]

Yesterday, a family lost their home in Willow Creek–possibly to an arsonist. The community is rallying to help them.

Neighbor Shelly Middleton said she was awakened at 4 a.m. yesterday by neighbors screaming that the house next door was on fire.

“As [I] opened my back door, my heart sank, everyone’s worst nightmares! Their house was fully engulfed in flames!” Middleton wrote.

Melinda Lanning Five of the children in the blended family that lost their home. [Photo from the GoFundMe account]

Luckily, the Brian Lanning the father was away working at his job as a firefighter for the US Forest Service and Melinda Lanning, the mother and secretary at Trinity Valley Elementary School, and the children were camping.

Middletons said that the Willow Creek Fire Department with help from Hoopa and Salyer Volunteer Fire Departments were able to protect their homes from the flames.

Nathan Falk, the Willow Creek Fire Chief told us,

When the first truck arrived at scene, the house was fully involved. The crew went into defensive mode protecting exposures and fighting the fire. We had mutual aid from Salyer VFD, Hoopa VFD, [the US] Forest Service, and Hoopa Ambulance was called to the scene for standby. Investigation [into possible arson] is still underway.

“Even [though] they saved my house, my neighbors are left with nothing–they just got married and bought this house about a year ago,” explained Middleton. “[T]ogether they have 5 kids. They are devastated…they just bought all their kids school clothes last week.”

According to a GoFundMe fundraiser online, the Lannings are

longtime residents of Willow Creek and are very active members of the community. The loss is extremely devastating to their family of five, as they have celebrated their marriage and the purchase of their first home within the last couple years.

According to Middleton who set up the GoFundMe, Coast Central Credit Union has an account for the Bryan and Melinda Lanning House Fire. The number is 216949 [Account type and three letters are S7.1 Lan]. “The CCCU account was set up for their immediate financial needs, so for those who would rather donate to that account, they can do so by transferring funds online or walking into any local branch to make a deposit,” she said. “The family is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from the community!”

Burned home

 The home was destroyed. [Photo from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office]

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