Jamul family’s farm destroyed by Valley Fire but they find hope from an unlikely pet
JAMUL (KUSI) – Flames from the Valley Fire might be out, but the devastation left behind is still fresh for residents in the East County.
“We estimate $700,000 dollars in loss and damages, there is a lot of stuff completely destroyed,” said Eddie Campos, owner of No Boundaries Farm. “That Saturday, at 2:39PM is when my son tapped me on my shoulder and said, ‘Dad look,’ and the two of us fought this fire until 4AM.”
Campos poured his retirement savings into building the farm about four years ago, and says it’s a labor of love run by his son, daughter and himself.
“We always say, home grown, family owned,” Campos said.
Like many living in the back-country, livestock is a huge part of their daily life. Campos’ fiancé Brie Alegria tried to save as many animals as she could as the flames crept closer.
“It was tough to drive away from everything because I knew it was going to be gone when I drove away,” Alegria said. “I knew it wasn’t ever going to look the same again.”
The flames would eventually destroy her stepson’s home. She said there wasn’t much time to prepare and some neighbors weren’t allowed back in to save their own animals.
“I didn’t want to leave my pig but I knew was going to try my hardest before I left,” Alegria said. “I just wanted to try and get as many of my neighbors animals out as possible, and I couldn’t get them out very far because the fire was already so close.”
Even helping one woman save six of her horses, she hurried to load chickens, neighborhood dogs, as many animals as she could, but she couldn’t get her stubborn pig Bruce to load into his trailer.
“By that time I was driving away, I was just so sorry I had to leave… I couldn’t load my pig,” Alegria said. “I remember thinking, I can’t turn around, the fire is already burning the valley.”
The Campos family was certain they lost Bruce, a staple in the community loved by neighbors across the county. However, Bruce would be the silver lining to the family’s devastating story, something that they desperately needed.
“When the neighbor came back on Sunday morning to check on things, she called and said, ‘Guess what? Bruce is right here,’ that was hope,” Alegria said. “If that darn pig can survive then we can pull through this too.”
The Campos family said Bruce is a symbol of all they can overcome. A photo of him went viral on social media, and watching the world’s comments have brought them laughter and joy they haven’t had since the fire broke out.
“He’s a legend and you know, if he can get through this he can stop the 2020 apocalypse,” Alegria said. “We’re all taking a lead from Bruce, we’re all going to get through this especially with help from others.”
If you would like to help support the rebuilding process you can visit: No Boundaries Farm Rebuild, organized by Brooke Campos.