As Firefighters Gain Ground on Pawnee Fire, Homeowners Start Picking Up Pieces

SPRING VALLEY -- Denise Ogle had just minutes to flee as the Pawnee Fire raced toward her home.

"The fire was right above us and my neighbor’s husband came down and said, 'You gotta go,'" Ogle said. "I grabbed everything but my stuff. I left it all. I even bagged my phone and everything, but I was so busy getting them and my cats in the car and their stuff."

Ogle's home was reduced to ash.

"My whole life. My 20 years of kids' pictures. Everything," she said.

Ogle is one of the dozens of people who lost their homes and nearly everything they own in the Pawnee Fire.

Thursday, as firefighters continue to battle the flames, the victims of the fire are taking the first steps to rebuild their lives.

"You lose your home and you’re just devastated. You don’t know where to start. So this is a place where we can help you find out what are the next steps you need to take to recover," social services program manager Theresa Showen said.

Officials in Lake County opened a local assistance center on Thursday to provide dozens of resources to fire victims -- all under one roof.

"The DMV is here to replace your license. We have animal control here if you've lost your pets," Showen said. "We have the state licensing board that can help you with what you need to do to replace your house."

Ogle was at the center Thursday morning, hoping someone can help get a foxtail out of her dog Marley's foot. She's also hoping to connect with organizations that can help her get back on her own feet.

"They have a list of all the services and I got nothing, so I'm here to get them," Ogle told FOX40.

Ogle says she knows she'll recover. She's done it before.

"I've had a fire before, when my kids were real little, like 30 years ago," she said.

This time, her neighbors in Lake County have rallied around her, offering to help her in any way they can. That kindness, she says, gives her hope.

"Just to believe. Just to have faith that through tragedy, good could happen. It happened with my last fire," Ogle told FOX40. "And I just got so much love not even knowing these people personally."

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