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National Guard pilot, family lose home in Tunnel Fire

Tunnel Fire home lost.jpeg
Posted at 9:59 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 07:53:24-04

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — “This is my home; these are my friends. This is my family,” says Trevor Cooper.

Flagstaff, Arizona. It's where Cooper has called home since high school.

A best friend describes him as: "Selfless,” says Jennifer Brown. “He has been in the military ever since I've known him, he's done multiple tours."

Cooper is a recently retired Corporal for the Flagstaff Police Department. Now he’s on active duty, serving as a pilot for the Army National Guard in Phoenix. While on leave Tuesday afternoon, Cooper's phone went off.

“We called him yesterday evening, going, ‘Hey are you okay? Do we need to help you?"’ says Brown.

The Tunnel Fire was moving rapidly toward his home in Timberline Estates.

“Right after that, about five minutes, we found out that his house had burned,” says Brown.

"Pictures sent to me of what was my house and could see pretty clearly that it was a total loss,” says Cooper.

RELATED: Latest information on Tunnel Fire burning near Flagstaff

Cooper got permission to drive to Flagstaff Wednesday to see for himself.

“They look like ground zero. Either something I saw in Iraq or what's happening in Ukraine right now."

The father of three walked his children through the ashes of his foundation.

“They're having a very hard time in little things for them,” says Cooper. “My daughter has a rock collection. it's important to her. It's gone. My son likes to dress up in Army,” Cooper pauses, “And all of, all of his stuff is gone."

Jennifer Brown worked with Cooper for 20 years. We caught up with her Wednesday here in the Valley.

"He's the one that provides help to people,” says Brown. “Now it's time for us to kinda help him back."

She created an online fundraiser to help the family, as Cooper goes through some tough conversations with his kids.

“Even though it seems really bad to them, I have been able to calm them down and just explain that we can get them their things again,” says Cooper. “They will have their home again."

Cooper is now working to find a temporary home until the house can be rebuilt.

"Pretty overwhelming the amount of support that's out there,” he said with a smile.