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California Couple ‘Adopted’ 93-Year-Old Veteran After He Fled Camp Fire

By Zachary Stieber

A California couple “adopted” a 93-year-old veteran after he fled the Camp Fire that was quickly approaching his hometown.

The entire town of Paradise was destroyed by the raging flames.

The death toll in the northern California fire reached 56 on Nov. 15, with 130 missing.

Tracy Grant was in a parking lot in Oroville handing out hamburgers on Nov. 8 when she encountered Lee Brundige, the World War II vet.

I adopted a 93yr old, evacuee. He’s coming home with me. His name is LEE Brundige if anyone is looking for or knows him❤️

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Tracy Grant‎‏ في الجمعة، ٩ نوفمبر ٢٠١٨

“He called me the burger girl,” Grant told CNN. “It took us about 24 hours to convince him to follow me home.”

Brundige slept in his car in the parking lot the first night but eventually was persuaded to go to Grant’s home after smoke prompted officials to order the lot evacuated.

“When I first met him, I knew he was special,” Grant, who owns a vintage store in Oroville, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He was the only person in this parking lot who was by himself with no one else with him. I made it my mission to keep my eye on him. When the rangers came, I went up to him and said, ‘You’re coming with me.'”

‘These People Are Angels’

Since then, the vet has been living with Grant, her boyfriend Josh Fox, and their two dogs. She said on Facebook that he’s been “adopted,” and noted that he and Fox have connected. Fox loves history, especially World War II history, and both of his late grandfathers fought in the war.

“They hit it off when Lee said he was the littlest guy in his unit so they made him be the tail gunner over the South Pacific,” Grant said.

Grant said she has been in contact with his son and has learned a lot about Brundige over the past week. Brundige doesn’t know whether his house is still standing.

camp fire destroys home
Chris and Nancy Brown embrace while looking over the remains of their burned residence after the Camp Fire tore through the region in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2018. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Even if the house is still standing, it wouldn’t have power or utilities.

“We are more than positive his home is gone. Even if it isn’t, the town will not be livable for a while,” Grant told CNN. “We found he has many friends and is loved by his community. He can stay with us as long as he would like.”

“These people are angels to me,” Brundige told Inside Edition. “They bought me clothes and everything. I don’t know how I’m going to thank them, but I’m going to try.”