Families forced to leave as Andrus Fire gets dangerously close to homes

CHENEY, Wash. — The Andrus Fire forced hundreds of families to leave as the fire got dangerously close to homes. Around 250 people were under a Level 3 evacuation around 11:00 a.m. outside of Cheney.

As of Monday night, some evacuations downgraded to Level 2 and 1. Families said it was emotional to leave when the first evacuation was issued.

“There’s a lot of memories and just a lot of emotions in that house,” said Jordan Short.

Short’s grandparents and other relatives live close to the Andrus Fire. As Short was heading back from a day on the lake, she got the news her family had to evacuate immediately.

“She [grandmother] was basically hysterical on the phone and told us we grabbed what we could,” Short said.

Short ran home with her husband, threw on some boots and rushed over to her family member’s house.

“Ready to do what we had to do to either to try to save the house or just get out anything physically possible,” Short said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Level 3 evacuations ordered for people living near Andrus Fire in Cheney, 250 structures threatened

Her family grabbed important things like documents, animals and more. The thought of Short’s family evacuating hit home. She said her son goes over every day and much of the family grew up in the house, so the thought of potentially losing it was hard to think about.

“We’re just expecting the worst and hoping for the best,” Short said.

Short and her husband went up to the house to make sure everything was ok and checked to see if there was anything else they could grab while the fire was still away from the house.

Her family went to a friend’s house as they waited for the all clear to go back. A Red Cross shelter was set up at Medical Lake High School for people who did not have that option.

“They need a place that is safe and it is comfortable for them,” said MaryKate Hamilton, a supervisor with the American Red Cross.

Hamilton said the shelter is not only important because of the evacuations, but the heat adds another element.

The Andrus Fire is still burning. Firefighters got help from aircraft constantly pulling water from Silver Lake and dropping it on the fire. Official are hopeful firefighters will get a good handle on it Monday night, if the weather plays in their favor.

Short said she will keep an eye on evacuations and will do what she can to save her family’s house.

“Is it worth your life? Definitely not, but is it worth the feeling that you’ll have that you did everything you could? Absolutely,” Short explained.

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PHOTOS: Andrus Fire burning near Cheney