4 months after buying home, Oregon couple loses it in wildfire

It’s something many families are struggling with right now: the realization they no longer have a “home.”

STAYTON, Ore. — It might not be the most ideal set up, but it’s one Brianna and Tanner Hills are thankful for. They have kennels for their three dogs and a tiny home for themselves.

The home is not theirs, but it’s been made a bit more homey by loved ones who hung up wedding pictures of the couple up on the walls.

“They tried their best to make it home,” said Brianna. “They printed pictures of our wedding day.”

For for the young couple, the tiny house outside Tanner’s sister’s place in Stayton is home now.

Brianna and Tanner lost their actual home last week in the fires. They had been living in Gates, a town on the Marion-Linn County border that was nearly destroyed in the fires.

The couple had bought the home only four months ago. It was perfect timing.

“Three months ago we found out we were pregnant,” said Brianna. 

“We were just starting to make the nursery room,” said Tanner.

“We were getting ready to paint it,” Brianna said “We never got to do that.” 

The Hills had to evacuate that home last Monday, Sept. 7, when the relentless wind sparked numerous fires in the area.

“The transformer across from our house exploded and it started a fire,” recalled Tanner. “It was pretty fast so we got our dogs and left and when were we’re driving down the highway parts of the highway were on fire.”

“The sky was completely red… it looked like it was snowing,” said Brianna.

The fire destroyed their home.

“Everything is gone,” Tanner said

But the flames did not destroy the couple’s spirit. They know they are lucky, and they are grateful. They’re grateful for all the support. They have received many donations. 

“People that I barely know are reaching out to me asking to help,” said Brianna.

They are also grateful for each other, their three dogs and their temporary tiny home. Because at a time when life seems so overwhelming, sometimes tiny is enough.

“It’s just the two of us, it’s fine,” said Brianna. “It’s more than enough.”