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Jun 18, 2013 1:46 AM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Man who lost home in Black Forest Fire determined to move on and help others

As the Black Forest Fire winds down with fire fighters gaining 75% containment on Monday many homeowners are getting a first look at what is left of their houses.

Joe Apsey-Vaughn and his family had only a few minutes to pack up their belongings after the fire sparked last Tuesday. When he first heard of the fire he drove to see it for himself and realized he and his family should gather what they could, within five-minutes of beginning to pack sheriff's deputies flooded their neighborhood on the 6900-block of Swan Road telling everyone to leave immediately. His family left, but Apsey-Vaughn stayed to take one last look at his home and says police and fire fighters who demanded he leave may have saved his life.

"My neighbor's house was already going when I got to my driveway, I took one last look and it (the fire) was, it was right there," he described. "I have a long driveway with a lot of trees, so if they wouldn't of came I would've been probably barbecued."

In shock Apsey-Vaugn and his family waited at a nearby Wal-Mart until they realized the fire would be a longer ordeal and stayed at an area hotel. It wasn't long until he saw aerial footage broadcast on News 5 that he realized his home was gone along with everything he had been forced to leaved behind, he hasn't even begun to calculate how much he lost.

"Oh...I had," he said, shaking his head and choking-up. "No."

A few days after the fire tore through his property he was allowed to return to inspect what was left of his home. He found nothing but the burned out foundation and his classic Chevelle, the heat of the fire was so intense that the car's frame had melted and bent over lifts that it had been raised on.

But, Apsey-Vaughn had plenty of insurance on his home and his family escaped safely, so he feels that he is more fortunate than many others. He's determined to move on and get back on his feet.

"That stuff's gone, now I just have to from this day forward go this way so, you know, I kind of closed that chapter of my life," he explained. "It's all gone now, so I'll just, I'll get some new stuff."

Because he feels so fortunate Aspey-Vaugn and his company, Empire Roofing, are offering free inspections and emergency repairs for those affected by the Black Forest Fire. Those seeking services can call 719.591.9200.

(All Photos Courtesy of Joe Aspey-Vaughn)

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