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Mojave man copes with losing valuable mementos to fire

A longtime Mojave resident said a fire burned down his garage barn, which contained meaningful items, including a Model T car
Posted at 6:26 PM, May 28, 2024

MOJAVE, Calif. (KERO) — Rex Welker, a longtime Mojave resident, is saddened after a fire burned down his garage barn, which contained valuable memories.

  • Welker says the fire might have started from a battery charger for a weed whacker.
  • Those interested in donating to help Welker can visit this website.
  • Welker said he tried to renew his insurance a few years back but was denied, and added that insurance companies do not renew policies because homes like his are rural.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

A man in Mojave says a fire at his home destroyed lots of his belongings, but also several things he considered priceless, like a Model T car.

I'm Steve Virgen, your neighborhood reporter.

Now, Rex Welker is doing his best to put his life back together without those valuable memories of the past.

Neighborhood Reporter Steve Virgen surveying the damage at Rex Welker's home in Mojave
Neighborhood Reporter Steve Virgen surveying the damage at Rex Welker's home in Mojave

"Oh, it was just devastating. I just went inside and cried. I actually cried."

That was Rex Welker's reaction when he watched his garage barn go up in flames on May 13th. He was crushed that the fire destroyed priceless mementos, garden railroad trains, and the 1917 Model T.

"It's just heartbreaking what was lost," Welker said.

A photo of the Model T car that Welker says was lost in the fire
A photo of the Model T car that Welker says was lost in the fire

Welker, an 81-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, has lived at the home for 41 years. He has three cats and one dog to keep him company.

Last year, his wife, Cathy, died of leukemia. They were married for 43 years.

"There's a lot of love put into that place. And, I know the weeds have grown some this past year, but they kept that place beautiful... It was a labor of love because it was just plain desert when they bought it," said Jeanne Nuesse, Welker's daughter.

Welker said he thinks the fire might have started from the battery charger for a weed wacker. He doesn't have insurance. A few years back he said he tried to renew his policy.

"A lot of the insurance companies are canceling people's insurance in the rural areas because it was 20 minutes before the fire department got out here," Welker said.

Welker says the firefighters did what they could and he's grateful that the fire didn't take away his home.

Virgen: "So, what do you do now, Rex?"

Rex: "Well, just try to carry on."

Welker says he's grateful for the amount of support from friends and family. Coach's Sports Bar in Rosamond held a special fundraiser event a couple of weeks ago.

I'm Steve Virgen, your neighborhood reporter in Mojave.


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