Army Veteran becomes homeless after fire destroys Oildale trailer home

Fire crews saved vets prized possession

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Kern County fire crews went to a burning trailer on Memorial Day in Oildale.

On May 27, at about 5:00 a.m., fire crews went to the 200 block of McCord Avenue regarding a trailer that was engulfed in flames.

Officials said the 72-year-old resident, later identified as Army Veteran Dan Huddleston, woke up when he discovered his home was on fire.

"I was sleeping about 4:45 this morning, hear some crackling, I got to take a look and there was a fire in the back part of the trailer and I just walked out of it," said Huddleston.

Huddleston stood watch with the Army Signal Corps in Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis as the world approached the brink of nuclear war.

Even though Huddleston lost virtually everything in the fire, he was able to save his two most treasured possessions. 

"Everything is gone except my guitar and my amplifiers," said Huddleston.

Huddleston's daughter lives next door so she can keep an eye on her elderly father. She said when she came out this morning all her dad was worried about was his guitar.

"It was scary because all he wanted to do is go back in and get his music equipment," said Michelle Huddleston.

Huddleston said he volunteers to play music for people at two local senior centers every week.

"He has no way to get around. He has nothing left. It took his house, his car, his medications, everything," said Michelle.

Huddleston suffers with COPD and it's easy to hear how hard it is for him to breathe. He had to have a breathing treatment this morning as he looked at what was left of his home.  

Huddleston also relies on an electric wheelchair to get around. He is riding one a friend loaned him for now because his sits melted inside the burned out trailer.

An ambulance was called to the scene, but Huddleston reportedly refused treatment.

The Red Cross has been called to assist Huddleston, who was left homeless by the fire.  

The thought of starting over at the age of 72 isn't enough to keep this vet down.  

"I don't worry about nothing and when you start worrying about stuff you get old and I don't want to get old.  Not today, not tomorrow, not next year," said Huddleston.  "I wanna live to be at least a hundred."

If you would like to help Huddleston get back on his feet, you can contact his daughter, Michelle Huddleston at 661-742-0192.

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