93-year-old Katherine Ray and her family thank Warden Stephenson for saving her life. Photos and video provided by Ryan Stephenson.
As the Valley Fire raged through a community of homes in Hidden Valley Lake on Saturday, 93-year-old Katherine Ray lay fast asleep on her living room couch.
But when California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Ryan Stephenson received word that a woman was missing from the evacuation party on Yankee Valley Road, he rushed back to find the street engulfed in flames.
“I got a report that there was a bunch of people trapped back on Yankee Valley Road. I found them and got them out of there,” Stephenson told the Outpost this morning. “Then a resident told me another gal was trapped back at her house that we couldn’t get a hold of.”
Stephenson found Ray asleep on her couch, unaware of the impending danger. The 24-year-old Warden carried the wheelchair-bound woman and her dog Betty Boop to safety moments before her home caught flames and was completely destroyed.
Ray was picked up by her son and daughter-in-law yesterday morning, and is resting comfortably.
Although this was Stephenson’s first time saving someone’s life, the second-year warden remains humble. “It just feels good to know all of us working that night were able to do some good,” Stephenson said.