COLFAX, Calif. (KTXL) — Some of the over 6,000 evacuees from the River Fire near Colfax returned to their homes Thursday.
Many evacuees came back to the neighborhood desperate to find out if their homes survived the flames.
Fire units were still being deployed to protect homes from any hotspots that could flare up in areas already charred.
Steve Rearick sent live video to his mother to show her house had survived. She evacuated to Placerville with five cats and three dogs.
“Scary moments, very scary,” said Sandy Sjoberg. “I think we’re still in the numb moment right now, and I pray that it continues to go around our house.”
Residents on Hillcrest Boulevard just above Colfax High School walked back to their houses because vehicle traffic was being kept out of the evacuation zone.
Brian Rollins took a cellphone video to show his dad that their house was still standing.
“Very, very lucky feeling,” Rollins said. “There was a lot of emotions going up and down, especially when you can’t see the red as much. All of a sudden, a few seconds later, the entire sky is red again and you’re like waiting for the inevitable.”
Auburn police officer Philip Isetta was not so lucky. His house on Saddleback Lane was burned to the ground after he evacuated.
He said it could have been worse.
“Material things. I mean, everybody got out safely, everyone is safe and healthy, and I’m just glad no lives were lost,” Isetta told FOX40.
He said it’s too soon to decide if he’ll rebuild or stay in the area. A number of other homeowners will have to make the same decision.
“We get deployed to these fires in other counties and assist others, and it hits home when you’re the victim. You’re helpless,” Isetta said.
While some residents went back to their homes, others were not allowed into the fire zone because of evacuation orders.