Tahoe man escapes fire, but his home burns to the ground


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A local man escaped from a fire last week that burned his home to the ground.

A fire destroyed a home in South Lake Tahoe. The photo was taken Saturday before the home completely burned. Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Lake Valley Fire Protection District responded about 8:30 p.m. to a house fire on Oneidas St, just off Pioneer Trail, and saw 74-year-old Gary Stuber outside with burn injuries.

Stuber escaped after the smoke detector was activated. Burns denied an ambulance ride and went to the hospital for treatment on his own.

The fire lasted until Sunday morning before it was finally put out.

When firefighters arrived the upstairs and downstairs of the home were completely engulfed.

According to Fire Chief Brad Zlendick, due to the volume of materials inside the residence, including ammunition that was constantly going off, the fire took the weekend to completely put out.

Smoke from a house fire in South Lake Tahoe was visible from Thursday through Sunday morning. Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

He said a tractor was used to excavate and dig into materials to reach the seat of the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but officials say there appears to be no foul play involved.

Other fire agencies including South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and North Tahoe Fire Protection District all assisted in efforts.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by a neighbor, Janet McDougall, to help assist the homeowner with costs. On Tuesday, the donation request was increased to help assist in the cost of removing hazardous materials from the house.

As of Wednesday morning $6,550 had been raised toward a $20,000 goal.

Tahoe author pens book about snowboarder who disappeared on Mount Everest

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Local author, teacher and soccer coach, Jeremy Evans has been working on retracing the journey that brought Marco Siffredi to the slopes of Mt. Everest in 2002.

With a mission to solve a mystery that may go forever unsolved, Evans finds himself understanding the convictions, passion and unrelenting tenacity of Siffredi.

In the book, “See You Tomorrow,” Evans delves into the life of the iconic 23-year-old snowboarder from Chamonix, France. He was the son of a mountain guide and also was the first person to make a continuous descent on the Norton Couloir. While there have been accounts and stories written in French of Siffredi’s life and attempt of the infamously difficult Hornbein Couloir, Evans wanted to bring his story into the hands of American readers.

Evans remembers reading about Siffredi’s story and his summit of Mount Everest in 2001 while sitting at his desk job, a year later at the same desk he remembers also hearing of his disappearance.

This story sparked an interest in Evans who had just started snowboarding himself, especially that Siffredi was just a few years younger than him and was doing these extreme missions and going to places where few have been. Evans remembers being shocked that he was never found.

The book, See You Tomorrow is to be released May 1.

When Evans started with the preliminary research of Siffredi, there wasn’t very much information and most of it came from snowboard magazines. But, the more Evans learned about him, the more he found this young snowboarder to be captivating and intriguing.

Evans eventually traveled to Chamonix, a small mountain town in the French Alps where Siffredi’s family worked and Siffredi’s older sister ran the campground.

While the first time Evans went to learn more about Siffredi, the wounds were still fresh and the family was not interested in speaking with Evans. The family was no stranger to hard times, Siffredi’s brother had been killed in an avalanche in prior years.

“Tragedy had really struck their family,” said Evans. “Eighteen years later and it still pains them.”

Evans spoke to friends and photographers that knew him. Once Evans went back to the states and had a concrete plan for the book, he reached out again when he returned the following summer.

Evans spoke with Siffredi’s girlfriend at the time of the disappearance and a few family members.

“There were a couple interviews I never got,” said Evans. “I had to respect the fact that they didn’t want to talk.”

Siffredi’s mother never spoke to Evans.

Evans also doesn’t speak French which added another layer to his story and to get details he hired a translator.

“I didn’t even realize how challenging it would be,” said Evans. “I am still scratching my head today asking myself if I portrayed it right.”

Evans says he learned about Siffredi’s authentic character through the lens of those who loved him, but also those who were his rivals.

“It adds to the mystery of his character, readers get a glimpse but it adds to the intrigue,” he said.

While the story appeals to extreme athletes and outdoorists, Evans says that he was surprised to find that this story also appeals to mothers, maybe because they can almost sympathize and connect with the tragedy of his story and with all those who loved Siffredi, but especially his mother.

“He was a momma’s-boy,” said Evans. “This is a story of a unique human being.”

Siffredi picked up a snowboard at age 16 and by 23 he was doing something that no one had done before. Through the book Evans shows the convictions and motivations of this highly determined young adult.

“You assume by his outer appearance that he’s got to be in this one box, but then you find that he is a gentle, kind, innocent soul,” Evans said. “There is authenticity about his character, he is inspiring and Marco is symbolic of risk, youth and maximizing time on this earth. He was labeled as reckless, but he wasn’t. He was very calculated.”

Throughout the book, Evans shows another side to how Siffredi was portrayed.

Siffredi had gone through the progressions whether it be gaining experiences in Nepal, the Andes and while he was obsessed with his goals, he was also focused on what he has to gain from them.

Evans takes readers on a possible outcomes of his disappearance. While conclusions range, there is one romantic idea that brings hope.

“If there was a character to pull that off, it would be Marco,” said Evans. “I look at him as an inspiration of what he’s done and now I understand it more. I feel blessed and humble to tell Marco’s story, I have a sense of gratitude for his family and friends for letting me tell this story.”

Pre-order See You Tomorrow online now at https://www.amazon.com/See-You-Tomorrow-Disappearance-Snowboarder/dp/1493053035.

The book will be released May 1 and will be available at local bookstores.