Grizzly Flats evacuees visit devastation from Caldor Fire for first time

Local News

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Evacuation orders remain in effect in Grizzly Flats, but the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office handed out permits to residents to see their property.

“It’s just ashes,” said Grizzly Flat resident Michelle Garner. “Just going to go see if anything made it, wait ’til they allow me to eat and start doing my cleanup.”

After nearly one month, many people came back. A handful of homes have survived, but many like Garner realize there was no home to come back to.

Garner and her 7-year-old daughter, Layla, found complete devastation where their home once stood.

“There’s a fire hydrant every 500 feet here. So when I moved here, they reassured me, we’ve got two fire departments,” Garner told FOX40. “I just don’t know why. I keep reading every excuse under the sun as to why they just watched it burn.”

Melted garage doors blanketed the spot where cars once parked. The living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms became one large area of broken glass, burnt chards of wood and mounds of rubble.

As she took it all in, Garner remembered her home with her family as a place where they were happy.

Matt Freitas, Garner’s neighbor across the street, was grateful to come back and find the family home still standing, believing his deceased brother had a hand in protecting the house.

“I really feel it’s more of an act of God,” Freitas said. “Like my brother was sitting on top of the house and saved my house or something. I have no clue.”

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