Ex-football star Eric Wynalda lost his home in the forest fires ripped through California – and watched as it burned on television before his eyes, it says in a report.
"Gone," Wynalda said Friday morning from his fire-damaged home in Westlake Village, Los Angeles, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
"Brutal … I saw it burn on live television," Wynalda said.
The massive fire in nearby Ventura County is responsible for claiming Wynalda's home.
The fast moving Woolsey fire started on Thursday afternoon and spread rapidly, evacuating tens of thousands of homes.
Wynalda, whose long football career included three world championships and was part of the German elite Bundesliga, reported that he received a notification about a voluntary evacuation on his mobile phone at 12:30. His wife packed their children in a car with important personal items and four suitcases of clothes, the news agency said.
The former athlete said he walked upstairs at around three in the morning, where he kept decades of football memorabilia but suddenly heard a knock on his door.
"Two policemen were there shouting," You have to go now. You have to go … now! "Said Wynalda.
According to the news agency, a fireball landed right next to his house.
"The fire trucks were not even there," Wynalda said. "I crossed the street and looked at the fire. I thought, 'Okay, that's not good. & # 39; There had to be so much smoke and ashes that I could not see anymore, so I went and got on the highway. "
Wynalda learned that his house burned down when a buddy wrote him a text message. Then he put on the TV and watched live.
Wynalda said that the settlement in which his house is located, Westlake Village, has 162 houses and that he was the only one who burnt down.
"All my memorabilia are gone. I have only memories now, "Wynalda said, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
"I feel terrible, but a few nights ago there are people who will never see their sons and daughters again. I think we need to take stock of what's real, "Wynalda said, referring to the bar massacre at Thousand Oaks, which killed 12 people.
"You can replace a house, you can just rebuild it. But you will never bring these people back. I'll be fine."