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“I thought it was a mistake,” Oklahoma teacher learns house was destroyed while on vacation

CACHE, Okla. – An Oklahoma teacher says he will have to figure out where to live after a fire destroyed his home and his belongings.

Paul Runnels, a teacher with Cache Public Schools, thought a vacation would be a nice break from his daily routine.

However, that short recess was shattered when reality crashed down on him on Saturday morning.

Early Saturday morning, Runnels received a phone call that his home had been destroyed after it was struck by lightning.

“At two-thirty in the morning, you’re not processing things so I thought it was a mistake,” Runnels told KSWO.

He says he got on social media and asked friends to drive by his property to see the extent of the damage. At that point, he learned that there wasn’t anything to salvage from the home.

While most of the items in the home can be replaced, Runnels says there are some that are simply irreplaceable.

His wife died of brain cancer in 2011, and her belongings were destroyed in the blaze.

“Her stuff is in there that we can never get back,” he said. “We don’t have anything left of her anymore.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Runnels and his two daughters as they work to start over.