Louie and Chris Gookin, grandparents with family roots in Tuolumne County going back to the 1860s, lost almost everything they owned in the fire early Friday that destroyed their home just a block away from an unstaffed fire station on an edge of old town Columbia. Their pet cat died in the fire, but no human lives were lost.

“We couldn’t call 911,” Chris Gookin, whose full first name is Christine, said Tuesday morning after meeting with an insurance adjuster at the remains of the home where they’d lived since 1969. “We were lucky to get out with our lives.”

Recommended for you