SANTA ANA, CALIF., OCT. 22 -- Word came to him on Monday in a hotel room many, many miles away, and though he had braced himself for the worst, Reggie Jackson still was not prepared.

"When I first heard about {the fire}, I had hope, hope, hope," Jackson said today via telephone from the Oakland warehouse where he keeps a part of his car collection. "Then when I got positive identification that my house was gone, I got cold and chilled. I was in my hotel room and I needed to put more clothes on. I was shaking, it was so disarming."

Jackson's home in the Oakland hills was among those destroyed in the most destructive fire in California history. He was preparing to move, he said, and he had spent several months consolidating his belongings.

"I was devastated, absolutely devastated," Jackson said. "I was in the process of getting everything gathered for the move. My baseball memorabilia, my art collection, my gun collection, my bronze collection.

"I don't own a tie. I don't own another pair of shoes, another shirt. It strips you. You're helpless. Defenseless. This is the most devastated I've ever been. The only salvation is I have my health."

Jackson was at the White House on Sunday, doing promotional work for an Operation Desert Storm fund-raiser, when the fire began. He was in New Jersey on business on Monday when he learned that his house was among those lost.

Jackson also has homes in Newport Beach and Carmel, though his home in Oakland was his primary residence. He was preparing to move to Carmel full time, he said.

This was the third time a property owned by Jackson has been leveled by fire. The house at the same Oakland hills site burned down in 1976, as did his automobile warehouse in Oakland several years ago.