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Couple hopes to find daughter's urn in rubble of home destroyed in Highland Fire

A couple is hoping to recover an urn containing their daughter’s ashes from the rubble of their home that burned down in the Highland Fire.

John and Patricia Rivera looked on as the fire broke out Monday, pushed away from their Aguanga home by the Santa Ana winds.

Then the winds suddenly shifted.

“I noticed the fire is coming at my house,” John Rivera said. “I looked up, and my closest neighbor is about two, three hundred yards away, his house started catching on fire. Totally engulfed in flames.”

The Riveras grabbed their dog Balto and a few items of clothing before driving down their narrow and bumpy dirt road to safety.

“By the time I turned around, it had traveled about 100 yards, 75 yards right behind my garage and the flames were probably 25-30 feet high,” Rivera said.

They escaped with their lives, but their home and everything they owned was destroyed.

“Everything we’ve had, we worked hard for,” Rivera said. “We’re both retired, we’re living on a fixed income. There goes everything we’ve ever owned. I mean, she’s got antiques and stuff from my  grandfather. Stuff from her grandparents, her great grandparents.”

An evacuation order has kept them away from their house. But when they’re allowed to return, Patricia Rivera says they will search for the urn with her daughter Christina’s ashes. 

“It’s very important and it’s not going to happen soon enough,” she said.

Christina was 38 years old and died in 2019 from an overdose of fentanyl.

The Riveras believe the urn is somewhere in the rubble.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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