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Couple loses everything in El Capitan from Telegraph Fire, 51 structures lost total

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Posted at 12:43 PM, Jun 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-19 15:43:49-04

EL CAPITAN, AZ — Fire officials confirm 51 structures have been lost in the Telegraph Fire, with 22 structures lost in El Capitan alone.

On Friday morning, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office put residents in El Capitan East and West from GO evacuation status to SET.

The fire has burned more than 176,000 acres as of Friday morning, with 72% containment.

New images shared with ABC15 show a game camera capturing the moments before the Telegraph Fire consumed Todd Strawdinger and Tari Infante’s El Capitan home.

“It was the sparks, the embers that got it,” said Strawdinger.

Strawdinger and Infante just moved into their El Capitan home full-time two months ago after they sold everything they had in Phoenix. Strawdinger said he put everything he had into renovating their new property that would eventually become their retirement home.

“We watched that entire mountain burn,” said Strawdinger.

Strawdinger and Infante were told to evacuate early Monday morning, they watched as the fire got closer, before leaving that day.

“You could hear it the whole time too, sounded like a jet engine,” the couple recalls, “it was really eerie, not a sound we have heard before.”

The two have insurance on the property, but it does not include the renovations, or a recent appraisal, “So even if the mortgage is partially paid off they will still be sitting with a bare piece of property and now have no homes to go to,” a message wrote on a fundraiser for Strawdinger and Infante.

Strawdinger works in construction and says the cost to rebuild with the housing market will put the two upside down.

“Building materials tools labor and of course money are all things that can help at times like this. Setting up this go fund me account so that those of you that can that have been moved by their Situation or by them personally can reach out and help them see their dreams again!,” wrote the organizer of the Gofundme.

For more information on their fundraiser, click here.