Reliving the South Obenchain Fire

One family in Eagle point who lost their home to the South Obenchain, retold what it was like going through the experience of escaping a wildfire.

Posted: Oct 17, 2020 3:43 PM

EAGLE POINT, Ore--- On Septemeber 8, 2020, Sharon and Mike Bateman left their home in Eagle point not knowing whether or not their home would survive the flames of the South Obenchain Fire. The fire was moving quickly due to the flames that were being pushed by strong gusty winds.

"Initially you think it's not gonna take your house," said Sharon. "You think that your house is still gonna be there be when you get back."

The couple returned to their home the following morning to try and retrieve any special belongings. Sharon and Mike could see off in the distance, standing on the hillside of their home of almost 30 years, the fire burning in the area where their wood-log cabin was at. The two moved as quickly as they could trying to gather what they could find when they received a call.

"The kids kept calling saying get out, get out," said Sharon. "You need to get out."

The fire had made its way down to Butte Falls Highway, maybe just a little over a quarter mile or so away from their home. 

The two barely made it out of the area before the fire jumped over the highway and started to burn up towards their property.

"It was a good thing that we got out when we did," said Mike Bateman. "People burn up in these fires really easily."

The family received a FaceTime call from a friend a few days later, to learn that the home did not survive the blazes of the fire. It wouldn't be almost another week before the family was actually able to return to their property and assess what might have survived. Although Mike and Sharon were both prepared to see their home gone, but the two said that the moment was still shocking.

"You sit there and think you've lived here since 1992 and you're thinking of trying to retire and then something like this wipes you clean," said Mike. "You just think wow, you've got to start all over again and who knows how long before things get somewhat back to normal."

Thankfully a couple dozen belt buckles that their kids got when they were younger survived the flames, but everything else that the family had and built within the home was now gone.

However, even with everything now gone, the family is planning to rebuild the property to something even better. Mike plans to try and build his wife's dream home as the two try to get things back to normal.

"We're just going to keep on going, said Mike. "We are Bateman strong and we will rebuild and go from there."

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