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‘Got to overcome’: Motor home fire off China Hat Road leaves owner seeking some help

'I don't like to ask things from people ... I like to be able to take care of myself'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- It only took 15 minutes for flames to take everything away from Robert Sanders.

Sanders has lived in a motor home off China Hat Road south of Bend for the last two years.

Last week, he came home and started the generator, as he always does. He ran to get some gas -- and returned to find his home up in flames.

"I lost everything -- everything," Sanders told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday. "I literally have the clothes on my back, and that's it."

The cause of the Jan. 3 fire is still unknown, and it didn't spread due to the snow creating a barrier.

"Two years of hard work gone, in 15 minutes," he said.

Sanders makes jewelry and sells it in downtown Bend. All of his supplies were lost in the fire.

"It's kind of hard to make money when you don't have anything," he said. "It's just a struggle."

Sanders does have insurance, but not enough to cover all of what he lost.

He says out of everything that's gone, the hardest thing to make peace with is not something that's tangible.

"Just losing the ability to take care of myself. I don't like to ask for things from people -- you know what I mean?" Sanders said, tears coming. "I like to be able to take care of myself."

"And I lost that ability."

But Central Oregonians have been stepping up to help, offering clothes, flood, and blankets through Bend's Pay It Forward Facebook page.

"It's tremendous, you know what I mean?" he said with gratitude. "To have people in the community that want to help."

While Sanders searches for his next home, the American Red Cross put up him and his dog in a motel.

"Just got to keep the faith," he said. "Not let things like this tear you down, and you know -- got to overcome."

Here's Sander's GoFundMe page.

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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.

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