Code talker's home burns

By Cindy Yurth
Tséyi' Bureau

CHINLE, July 15, 2011

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Times photo - Cindy Yurth

Code Talker Samuel Holiday's home in Monument Valley burned to the ground Friday morning, according to his daughter.

The family believes it was arson.

Holiday, who turned 87 last month, was staying with relatives in Kayenta and is unharmed, other than "he's really sad," Helena Holiday said. "He cried when he saw it. His wife Lupita died in October, and that was her house. It was like losing her all over again."

Navajo Nation Police are investigating the fire, but Helena Holiday said it is suspicious because no one was home at the time and neighbors saw two men apparently running from the scene at about 6:40 a.m., shortly before the house burst into flames.

A neighbor called the fire department, but by the time they arrived, the entire house reportedly was engulfed.

It's a total loss, she said. "There's nothing left but ashes."

The family was notified about 2 p.m.

Most of Holiday's Code Talker paraphernalia was not in the home at the time. Helena Holiday said the items were with another daughter who traveled with him when he did presentations on the Navajo Code Talkers.

"But as for his other household items, he lost everything," she said.

Holiday said she didn't think her father had any enemies, although there were people who wanted the land the house was on.

"Whatever it was, they didn't have to do that," she said.

Samuel Holiday had temporarily moved out of the house so it could be remediated for asbestos, she said. He was planning to move back in along with some nephews who could help him with household chores.

The family is asking anyone with any information on the fire to contact the Kayenta Police District.

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