VOTE: How would you spend the jackpot?

Wife of ‘missing’ man during fire feared the worst while he slept in community clubhouse

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BONSALL, Calif. – A woman whose husband was reported missing during the Lilac Fire Thursday, is talking about how she panicked and feared the worst when she couldn't reach him.

Pat Bailey was driving back home from a hair appointment Thursday morning when she saw the thick, black smoke. She rushed back to the Rancho Monserate Country Club to get her 93-year-old husband, Ralph, a WWII veteran.

When she reached the community, the police wouldn’t let her through.

“She [a policewoman] said, ‘nope,’” said Bailey. “She said the police are evacuating all the people that can’t get out of the park.”

Bailey and her son started making phone calls immediately.

“We were calling every evacuation place we can find, everything that was on the news, we were following trying to find Ralph Bailey,” she said. “Nobody knew where he was, they didn't even know his name.”

That’s when Bailey started getting concerned, frustrated, and frantic.

“I’m at the top of the hill watching all the black smoke across Bonsall,” said Bailey. “I’m watching Bonsall burn down.”

As she feared the worst, her husband wasn’t far away with his little bird, Pauley.

“During that time, unbeknown to me, I’m at the top of the hill trying to get down there to him and he’s in the park where it’s burning,” said Bailey. “It’s all burning down and he’s in there in his golf cart.”

“I hesitated to get in some of the police cars and have them haul me off to an unknown destination,” said Ralph Bailey.

It turns out Ralph made several stops in and around his neighborhood and eventually caught up with a neighbor, whose house burned down. When night fell, they took shelter in the clubhouse, and slept on the couches.

“Not very comfortable, but there we were,” said Ralph.

After sunrise, Ralph decided to go back to his house and after more than 24 hours being apart, that’s where his family found him and his bird.

When asked what her reaction was when she saw Ralph, Bailey said she was relieved.