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Grandson of President Herbert Hoover loses home in wildfire

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Andy Hoover built his home from the ground up to be as fireproof as possible.

Then, in just a matter of minutes, the Lower North Fork Fire ruined everything.

Andy happens to be the grandson of President Herbert Hoover, and he says his home contained some items and memorabilia from his grandfather’s presidency that cannot be replaced.

Hoover isn’t surprised to learn that 12-percent of homeowners did not get reverse emergency phone calls telling them to evacuate.

“I know that I did not personally get a 911 call.”

The company that operates the system, FirstCall, says the system worked as expected. It says the 12-percent that did not receive calls either did not answer the phone or the phone number was disconnected.

Moments before Hoover shot the video of fire engulfing his home, he had been inside the house trying to plan an escape route.

“It changed from very dark to sort of glowing orange to dark to orange to dark,” he told us. “When I got outside I looked around all the pine trees had no pine needles. They were black.”

He knew at that point that he had lost his neighbors. Sam and Moaneti Lucas died in the fire. The Sheriff’s Office says they did get an emergency call.

“I looked up at Sam’s house. It was all gone. The propane tank was behind it,” Hoover says.

Earlier, He shot video of the wildfire as it started moving up from below, pushed by hurricane-force winds. “It was blowing towards us … I got on the phone and called my neighbors. I called Sam Lucas and talked to Sam and Moaneti way more than once.”

He later confirmed that his friends had died. “I realized that that orange glow is what burned everything up and would have killed me.”

Hoover questions why a prescribed burn was set near his home last week and why, according to him, it was left unattended. “The fire was never out … that’s a fact,” Hoover says.

With emotions running high, he asks the community not to rush to judgment. He says questions need to be answered by a thorough investigation.

Hoover says the memorabilia that was lost in the fire he planned to donate to the Smithsonian and Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

“I looked up at Sam’s house. It was all gone. The propane tank was behind it,” Hoover says.

Earlier, He shot video of the wildfire as it started moving up from below, pushed by hurricane-force winds. “It was blowing towards us … I got on the phone and called my neighbors. I called Sam Lucas and talked to Sam and Moaneti way more than once.”

He later confirmed that his friends had died. “I realized that that orange glow is what burned everything up and would have killed me.”

Hoover questions why a prescribed burn was set near his home last week and why, according to him, it was left unattended. “The fire was never out … that’s a fact,” Hoover says.

With emotions running high, he asks the community not to rush to judgment. He says the questions need to be asked and the facts will be learned.