Tracy Grant was handing out hamburgers to wildfire evacuees when she met Lee Brundige standing by himself in the parking lot full of people.
The 93-year-old man lived alone in a house he built years ago for himself and his wife in a neighborhood that is likely destroyed by the Camp Fire, which has been one of the most destructive in state history.
"When I first met him, I knew he was special," Grant told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He was the only person in this parking lot who was by himself with no one else with him. I made it my mission to keep my eye on him. When the rangers came, I went up to him and said, 'You're coming with me.'"
After some hesitation, Brundige joined Grant. They went to her house in Oroville, where Brundige was able to change out of his two-day-old clothes. Grant called her boyfriend, Josh Fox, to let him know they were housing an evacuee. He brought home bags of new clothes for Brundige.
"They hit it off when Lee said he was the littlest guy in his unit so they made him be the tail gunner over the South Pacific," Grant told the Chronicle.
Brundige was able to contact his son, who is in his 70s, and let him know he is safe.
Brundige has also bonded with Axle, the couple’s dog.
"I thought, 'If that were my grandpa, where would I want him to be?" Grant told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We told him this could be his forever home but that is totally up to him."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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