One week after arriving in Arizona to help in the Pipeline fire, the Mississippi firefighter lost everything.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — For 13 years, Casey Cravens has battled fires and saved people’s homes, but on Sunday he was not able to save his own.
After working a 14-hour shift in the Pipeline Fire near Flagstaff, he found his RV home destroyed at his campsite on Rainbow Ranch Road.
“I built everything into that home,” Cravens said. “I gave everything up to come out and fight fires, to travel and help, but everything was destroyed.”
The wildland firefighter’s main concern was his two dogs, rottweilers Ali and Jr, who stayed inside the trailer home.
“I looked around and Jr and Ali weren’t around,” he said. “I got into the truck and started yelling for Ali, for Jr. No response.”
But Craven’s dogs had been found dead inside the trailer hours before he got there.
The Summit Fire and Medical Department responded to the scene around 1:30 pm on Father’s Day.
The RV trailer was showing smoke, but no flames were visible when firefighters arrived on the scene. Officials noted all the exterior doors were looked at, which required crews to force entry into the trailer and put out the fire.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Cravens has questions as to why his dogs were trapped inside.
“I can tell you that deadbolt was not locked,” said Cravens referencing the front door entrance to the trailer. “They had a way out before we left, and when we got there that deadbolt was locked.”
The Mississippi native said he always left the windows and door open for Ali and Jr when he went to work. They have traveled with him since they were puppies.
The trio was in New Mexico helping with the Calf Canyon, Crooks, and Hermits Peak fires, before arriving in Flagstaff a week prior.
Cravens said the local Humane Society helped get Ali and Jr get cremated, so they can continue to be with him as he continues to fight fires.
“The locals here went above and beyond for us,” he said. “I can’t thank any one of them enough. I can’t thank a single one too much. I don’t know how I would repay what they have given me.”
The non-profit Arizona Foothills 411 is in the process of getting Craven a donated trailer for him to keep doing what he loves.
There is also a GoFundMe account set up to help the wildland firefighter get back on his feet.
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