New Mexico family escapes McBride Fire, loses home

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RUIDOSO, N.M. — Hundreds in Ruidoso lost everything in the McBride Fire.

KOB 4 spoke with a victim who not only lost her home, but was neighbors with an elderly couple that was not able to escape in time.

The woman, Jolynn Russell, said her family only had minutes to get out – no time to grab anything, they just had to go. She was on her way home from work to help her parents evacuate.

"They weren’t told by anybody that there was a fire," Russell said. "They just saw the smoke out the window."

Her mother and father were not able to grab their photos, or even their pets.

"It’s just something I can’t describe, knowing that they are gone," Russell said.

Her parents only had what they had in their pockets. Her parents were about to hop in the car to leave, when they realized their neighbor, TJ Montano, was still inside his home, sleeping.

"The back door was unlocked, luckily, and he was able to get inside," Russell said.

Her brother ran and woke Montano – who stayed to pack. He got caught in the flames, suffering severe burns to his face and body. Montano was flown to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas for treatment.

Photos show what’s left of the neighborhood Russell and Montano called home.

"The whole neighborhood is pretty much done," she said.

It was also home to the two people killed in the McBride Fire, an elderly couple who tried to evacuate.

"They were our neighbors for forever and I had known them since I was a kid," Russell said. "They were really nice people."

Russell and her parents are now staying at a hotel. She told KOB 4 they are still looking for a more permanent place to stay. She said that she’s not looking forward to going back to her neighborhood, knowing that she will have to relive all the heartbreak again when she sees what’s left.