Some Clayton Fire Evacuees Still Waiting to See if Their Homes Survived

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LOWER LAKE -- A historic Lake County community remains in shambles after the Clayton Fire left businesses burned, homes destroyed and people frustrated.

"I want to see if my ranch is still there, I have no idea, no idea!" said evacuee Bill Elam.

Tuesday, Elam was still waiting to return home to his ranch in Lower Lake.

In nearby Clearlake, Jan Counts was one of the first to drive into her community after police removed the road blocks.

"Thank God we're home!" said Counts.

After three days of stress and helplessness as an evacuee, she can finally relax.

"Drink a beer! Put all this stuff away," Counts said.

Closer into town, roads were still closed as utility crews scrambled to fix downed power lines.

Firefighters were still at work.

"As you can see, there's still smoke and embers in the area, so we need to make sure it's as safe as possible," said Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin.

"They're not gonna be able to open for a while," said electrician Huey Lewis.

At Lower Lake Elementary, flames left serious damage to classrooms.

"Fire came around the corner, heated up this wall so much it melted the door shut," said Lewis.

A preschool across the street was completely destroyed and gutted.

After flames devoured much of the town, many waited another day to either go home or see what was left in the ashes.