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Community Will Remember Couple Killed In Wildfire

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GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)- The couple who died in the Lower North Fork Fire will be remembered by a tight-knit community in Littleton.

Sam and Linda “Moaneti” Lucas had their bags packed to escape the deadly flames, but they never made it. The wildfire was apparently sparked by a state-prescribed burn that was stirred up by strong winds on Monday. Since then, 27 homes have been damaged or destroyed.

Friends of the couple said they were the kind of people who gave from their heart.

“There is a verse in the Bible, Proverbs 17:17. It says, ‘A friend loves at all times’ and that was their life,” said friend Juanita House.

“Sam just had a servant’s heart,” said Red Rocks Fellowship Pastor Jack McCullough. “Moaneti was just a very warm person.”

McCullough was a close friend of Sam, 77, and Moaneti, 76, “They were pillars of the community. Pillars of the church.”

The couple was very involved with the church. Sam was a Sunday school teacher and Moaneti was known for daily phone calls she made to fellow parishioners.

“Just to say to them, ‘How are you?’ And she wouldn’t talk long. She had a long list and would always tell them goodnight. That’s what she did with me, when she would call, say goodnight,” said House.

One of Sam’s final phone calls was to the church.

“At actually 3:56. We have it on our Caller ID. He said, ‘There was a fire we see. Please pray,” said McCullough.

“That’s Sam. He didn’t request prayer for them. He requested prayer for their community,” said friend Donna Dunkle.

The fire took the couple and the dream home they built. They were preparing to leave, their truck was packed and ready to go.

“But more importantly, they were packed and ready to go to their eternal home. Their home in Heaven,” said Dunkle.

RELATED STORY: Lower North Fork Fire Photo Gallery

“They leave a huge vacancy. They set a wonderful example in their lives, service and faith and their marriage,” said McCullough.

McCullough said that Sam, a retired engineer, was very conscious about fire danger safety when he built their home. He constructed it with concrete tiles, a fire suppression system and access to a water supply.

A memorial for Sam and Moaneit Lucas is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the Southern Gable Church. The memorial service is open to the public.

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