A large pile of ash and a single filing cabinet are all that’s left of Mark Irgang’s 16-foot barn.
“I had my chain saw in here. I had shovels in here, and I had a lot of memorabilia that had a photo album of my kids and my family prior to ageing and trips I’ve taken and stuff like that that’s all gone,” Irgang said.
A second pile of melted metal is all that’s left of the trailer he called home.
“The propane tanks are there,” Irgang said. “I’ll be able to see them again, but needless to say, I will never be able to use this again. This happened at a time when I was really starting to get comfortable in the trailer.”
Now, Irgang stands looking at the scorched trees and piles of ash on his property, remembering the day the Greenway fire took everything away.
“I came home and everything was already burnt up. It was surreal because I came home on a normal regular day when I went to go to the gym,” he said.
“I drove up to my trailer and I said, ‘oh my god what is this!’ And the next thing I looked at was the barn, and then the trailer which was my first trailer. Everything got burned,” Irgang added.
Irgang says he watched the fires burn thousands of acres from a distance. He never thought his property would get torched too.
And even though his entire livelihood is now ash, Irgang says he’s not looking at this as a loss.
“I’m a survivor,” he said.
Instead, he’s looking at this as the perfect time to start over.
“I wouldn’t let something like this get me down, but I’m very disappointed this happened. I could say it’s heartbreaking, but I’m not going to say that because the next one I’m going to get is going to be better than this one. So I’m ready to work toward the next one and clean all this up,” he said.
Right now, firefighters say no other buildings are in danger.
Greater Naples Fire Rescue is gathering donations to help Irgang get back on his feet. If you’d like to help, you can drop off money at the GNFR station on Collier Boulevard.