'Sometimes it's us that need the help': California firefighter loses new home in wildfire

ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Santa Rosa firefighter loses new home in Glass Fire
While fighting the Glass Fire, a Santa Rosa firefighter lost his own home, which he had purchased just days before and had not yet insured.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. -- While fighting the Glass Fire in Northern California, a Santa Rosa firefighter lost his own home, which he had purchased just days before and had not yet insured. Now the community is fighting to help him and three other families.

"When we got up here, I could see the first structure over there was my brother's house that had burned," said Fire Captain Mike Musgrove.

He explained what it was like to drive up to his property after the Glass Fire burned through his neighborhood.

"Right here would have been the front door," he said as he walked towards what would have been his house, now a large mound of ashes and rubble. "That was gonna be where we started this project, this dream that we had."

Mike, his brother, and two other families pooled their savings to buy the 37-acre property at auction.

Musgrove says they closed on Friday Sept. 25.

"The weekend comes, our number one priority was to get insurance on the property on Monday, and so the fire hit Santa Rosa Sunday night, I went into work."

While Musgrove was evacuating Santa Rosa seniors and protecting homes, his own home, which he had owned for just 48 hours, was burning nearby.

"The swing of events that happened, it's heartbreaking to say the least."

Musgrove was inspired to buy the property and really start a new kind of life, because of his oldest daughter, Olivia, who passed away unexpectedly one year ago this week.

"After Olivia's passing I wrote down things on a white board," he said. "At the top of it, it's to be more patient, to lead with my heart, and be more compassionate. That's kind of the theme of what we wanted to build up here."

All the property owners are single parents. Musgrove's daughter Ava is 17, and was looking forward to a fresh start.

"The saying is take it one day at a time, but sometimes it's one hour at a time, one minute at a time, just to get through and keep moving forward."

Musgrove wants to rebuild, but estimates there's more than a million dollars of uninsured damage to the property.

A Santa Rosa non-profit called The 6 Foundation, that helps rehab firefighters, has organized a GoFundMe to help Mike rebuild his dream.

"We're always the ones out there in the community helping others, sometimes it's us that need the help," said Musgrove.