NYSSA – A Nyssa couple lost everything in a predawn fire Sunday morning that destroyed their home.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, David and Tonya Bunker fled their house that sits on their property at 2705 Heritage Dr. in Nyssa as it burned to the ground due to an electrical fire.
The couple was able to snatch their most valuable possessions in the short time they had before the house was engulfed in flames.
“We had four to five minutes and that’s all we had,” Bunker said Monday.
“From the time that I got up and saw the flames to the time my wife and I had to go outside was about five minutes. We grabbed a couple of things that were important, and threw a couple of things out the window,” Bunker said.
Bunker said that in addition to some photos of their children, the couple rescued some guns.
David Bunker threw his computer out the window, and Tanya Bunker grabbed their grandson’s jumper. Together they saved what was most important to them in a moment of disaster.
The Bunkers ran back and forth into their burning house twice before it was too late, and once outside, Bunker made the call to the Nyssa Fire Department at 4:05 a.m.
“By the second trip the house was almost completely engulfed in flames. I had to bend over, hunch down, and run out,” Bunker said.
“I will have to give kudos to the Nyssa Fire Department. They were here in 15 minutes. For a volunteer fire department at 4 in the morning, that is pretty good,” Bunker said.
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Eric Menchaca, the fire chief in Nyssa, said the fire was caused by an electrical issue, and that six firefighters were dispatched to the scene. His department got help from the Parma and Adrian fire departments.
Treasure Valley Paramedics were also on the scene in case there were any injuries.
Neither of the Bunkers were hurt.
The Bunkers own Branch Enterprise 7 Inc., a local business that does weed and mosquito control as well as habitat restoration.
Bunker said that the outpouring of support his family received from the community is outstanding.
“The Nyssa community has been absolutely overwhelming, it’s phenomenal,” Bunker said. Later on that morning, the Bunkers’ children arrived to give support and somebody brought them breakfast. Donations have been flooding in.
The Bunkers lived in the house, which was built in 1928, for about 27 years.
“The old homes aren’t designed for the electricity that we have these days,” Bunker said. He added that it was immediately apparent that it was an electrical fire when he saw it.
Nyssa Police Chief Raymond Rau said the fire was tragic.
“They lost everything,” Rau said.
On Monday, a post from Rau on the Nyssa Police Department’s Facebook page informed people on how they might help the Bunkers overcome their hardship.
The post included clothing sizes and other details for helping the couple.
For David Bunker, the requests included size 38×30 pants, extra-large shirts, and size nine and a half shoes. For Tonya, the list included size eight pants, large shirts, and women’s size 10 shoes.
According to the post, there are donation drop off areas in the picnic area of the Nyssa Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Owyhee Rock Store.
“Let’s rally and help out a couple of pretty amazing people as they work through this difficult time,” the post said.
Bunker added that one thing he has been telling people and that he thinks the community could learn from his experience is to never dismantle smoke detectors and to always have a plan.
Have a news tip? Reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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