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Family Loses Tiny House in Wildfires


This is the Wright family, the first clients of David Latimer at New Frontier Tiny Homes, who lost their tiny house in the wildfires that ripped through Boulder Creek, CA. We did a post about their house that they’ve been using as an Airbnb for some time. Now that income is gone, as well as many family heirlooms and possessions. Latimer has set up a GoFundMe account for the family here.

The Wrights couldn’t find an insurance provider to cover their tiny house in case of wildfires, which means this is a complete loss. They found out about the devastation on the same day their new daughter was born.

They recently moved to North Carolina and have a home there, so they are, thankfully, safe and housed at the moment. That said, they could use our support! Consider donating here.

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California Wildfires Destroy this Family’s Tiny House

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Images via GoFundMe

Here’s what the home looked like before the devastation.

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Images via GoFundMe

And here is what’s left after the fires…

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Images via GoFundMe

Big sister Escher with her newborn sister…

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Images via GoFundMe

The family in their tiny house…

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Images via GoFundMe

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife and mama of two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
Natalie C. McKee

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Avatar steve
    August 26, 2020, 3:43 pm

    Ok, why show a photo of a random entrance when the two are not even the same area?
    I get they lost their home but it might help to see the true b4 & after for raising funds, etc.

  • August 26, 2020, 10:56 pm

    Ideal is to have a contingency plan to get towed out as fire danger brews. In distance. Sad REALITY I have tried to set up an evacuation plan many times over the years and lack of professionals to tow, is gulling and so planning to avoid disaster NOT doable, as sensible as it might sound.

  • August 26, 2020, 11:01 pm

    Agreed-would help as it looks like another damaged set of steps seen on TH Nation, but is NOT the same ones! People might think it they are.

  • Avatar James D.
    August 27, 2020, 12:08 am

    @Prima Donna – Contingency plans help but nothing is foolproof… In this case they had switched to using the home as a AirBNB, which likely meant they weren’t there and by the time they found out the fire was a threat it was probably already too late for them to do anything…

    Most contingency plans rely on having at least some warning and being in a position to execute the plan.

    A former article from a few years ago covered one tiny house owner in California, for example, that worked as a firefighter and knowing how quickly situations can change switched to a smaller tiny house, after a close call with a previous wildfire, to be able to move the home more easily and quickly in an emergency.

    Keep in mind, especially for families, many have moved towards larger tiny houses and putting in decking, etc. makes it take longer to set up to move and requires a more powerful tow vehicle that is harder to cost justify to keep around regularly instead of renting or hiring a moving company.

    All tiny houses on wheels are movable but in an emergency, the smaller and lighter the better your chances… But even then, you have to be there and have enough time to actually move the home…

    Those with larger homes should invest in preventive/counter measures, like creating a fire break around the home. Putting in sprinklers and other automatic ways to slow and prevent the fire from reaching the home… Moving the home to a safer location is still preferable but no one thing should be relied on and multiple contingencies should be in place ideally, especially if the people need to evacuate the area and not just a question of property loss…

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      August 27, 2020, 9:33 am

      It’s important to note that the mother gave birth in North Carolina the same day that the fires hit…so they were both across-the-country and in the middle of a major life event when this all happened. In the end, I think it was likely more important that they both be present for the birth of their daughter than head out to California in an attempt to save the house. All of it is tragic, of course…hard choices!

  • Avatar Paul J Salazar
    August 27, 2020, 10:38 am

    While I am very sorry for their loss, I would have preferred an article about those such as Judy Vollmer who lost her primary residence (a trailer home) in the conflagration over a story of the loss of someone’s source of supplemental income. And I feel insulted that you chose to include an “after” image not of the site where the home of your subject stood, in its stead, we are shown the smoldering ruins of someone else’s misfortune.

  • Avatar Katrina Kole
    August 27, 2020, 12:52 pm

    Currently listening to NPR regarding our northern Cali fires which have definitely become impossibly unpredictable since 2015. Impossibly. Unpredictable. We’re all just trying to figure out how to put and keep a roof over our heads. Basic human need. Shelter. So we’ve gone small. Tiny. Those of us here that want to do our part. But it’s still too far out of reach for too many.

  • Avatar Kat
    August 27, 2020, 9:39 pm

    I agree with Steve. The before and after pictures do not seem to match. The after photo shows 2 brick chimney stacks and a rock wall and stairs with brick trim that lead down to a concrete sidewalk that aren’t shown anywhere in the before pictures. Furthermore, the after shows houses in the background whereas the house in the before picture seems isolated.

  • Avatar Katrina Kole
    August 27, 2020, 10:25 pm

    Well now that I actually read your comment…yes you’re absolutely right and that is strange! Out of only a few photos why show that one? Ok. I should have read your post first.

  • Avatar Lori
    August 28, 2020, 12:13 am

    agree the before and after pics do not match. Hard to contribute when pics do not match.

  • Avatar Philip
    August 28, 2020, 12:54 am

    I have to agree with Steve. The devastated home in the picture is not the same home. Why would you publish this?

  • Avatar Theresa Perdue
    August 28, 2020, 12:01 pm

    While it’s sad that they lost the house I have trouble with donating to someone who lost an extra income when so many have lost their homes they live in and some their lives. There are better stories out there.

  • Avatar James D.
    August 29, 2020, 2:22 am

    Okay, confusion so I’ll try to clarify from what I was able to dig up…

    1) The THOW wasn’t on their property, it was on someone else’s property that was allowing them to keep it there and use it as an AirBNB. While the photo is just one of two photos, the other looks to be the site the THOW was placed with little more than burnt trees visible, which basically means nothing recognizable is left, and the other that is shown here is likely what is left of the home of their host and the only thing really recognizable left.

    2) Originally, they lived in a sprinter van, like many in CA who couldn’t afford housing, before getting the THOW and then they lived in it a few months out of the year and rented it out the rest as they traveled and tried to use the home to get into a better financial situation but more recently they moved their family to North Carolina as their family has grown and as Natalie pointed out they just had another child when this fire struck. So they are basically on the other side of the country and not really in a position to go get detailed photos of the site, which is likely hard to reach due to all the destruction and the site being on a hillside that had been surrounded by trees that may now be blocking roads, etc…

    3) Despite being in California, they were never able to get fire insurance coverage for the THOW, which also had many of their family heirlooms. So it’s a major loss for them and while there are people who are worse off, it should be remembered this is not a good time to lose any income, especially with a now large family to take care of and possibly no other source of income that they can rely on for quite some time to come, and after a recent move that may have depleted their reserves…

    4) While the family hasn’t stated anything about their present financial situation. The Escher House was built by New Frontier Tiny Homes, who made expensive designer homes. So there’s also the possibility they haven’t paid the home off yet and as their GoFundMe goal is only $30,000 and the home definitely cost a lot more than that, it’s a strong possibility they may be dealing with some debt on top of everything…

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      August 31, 2020, 3:47 pm

      Yes, James. The GoFundMe page mentioned the money was going toward paying off the rest of the house that they were still making payments on.

  • Avatar Jon bl
    August 30, 2020, 7:39 pm

    I totally remember the after picture of the bricks, that was from few years ago. I think they had a large home that burned down before the tiny. This is very odd 🤔🤔

  • Avatar Jon bl
    August 31, 2020, 4:18 pm

    The after photo of damage bricks is actually from another large home that burned down few years ago. The tiny home was built after the large home was burned down. The photo is not the tiny home that they supposely “lost” in the wildfires.

    (Btw this site sent spam to my inbox after my first comment here)

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