Charles Barkley: ‘We need to follow up in disaster areas’ |

Charles Barkley: ‘We need to follow up in disaster areas’

Steve Yingling
Nevada Appeal News Service
Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal Charles Barkely, in red, talks with Angora fire victim Tony Colombo, in shorts center, at the site of Colombo's destroyed home on Olympia Circle in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., during a media tour of the area on Friday. Barkley donated $25,000 to Angora fire victims and plans to take 100 firefighters to dinner today. Colombo said that the plant in the foreground, a Stargazer Lily, is the only thing that survived the fire. They named the plant Phoenix, but after Barkley visited the site they changed its name to Phoenix Barkley, referring to Barkley's days with the Phoenix Suns.

There was concern and sympathy in Charles Barkley’s voice Friday afternoon as he toured a South Lake Tahoe neighborhood decimated by the recent Angora fire.

“This is unbelievable,” Barkley said. “I really want to let people know that this is really unfortunate. It’s going to take years for everybody to rebuild their houses here.”

The fire destroyed 254 homes, displaced 3,500 residents and caused more than $160 million in damages last month.

The 11-time NBA All-Star visited several home owners on Mule Deer Drive and Mount Olympia Circle following the first round of the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

He was accompanied by an NBC Sports film crew, including reporter Jimmy Roberts.

“If we stay over there at the golf and casino, we’re not going to think anything is going on here,” Barkley said. “That’s why I wanted to come here with a camera.

“When you live in different parts of the country and they show you two houses burned down, you don’t get the full effect.”

Barkley did a similar act, visiting New Orleans last February, well after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.

“That hurricane could have hit last week, that’s how bad it was. Houses were all watered out and streets were nothing but mud everywhere, and that was two years later,” said Barkley, who donated $1 million to help New Orleans residents recover.

That experience made him realize how important it is to follow up in disaster areas.

“We need to do something like this every year we come here … to show the progress,” he said.

Barkley has donated $25,000 to Angora fire victims and planned to take 100 firefighters to dinner tonight.