‘Tears of joy’: Pollock Pines residents return home grateful to firefighters battling Caldor Fire

Local News

POLLOCK PINES, Calif. (KTXL) — Homeowners who were forced to evacuate the Pollock Pines area of El Dorado County due to the Caldor Fire have been on edge waiting to hear whether they have a home to go back to.

Rowena Gaut and her family have been away from their home near Gold Ridge Trail for the last two weeks.

“It was heartbreaking,” Gaut told FOX40. “Unforgettable for me. I’m still recalling it. It’s like, oh my God, I thought we’re not going to go back here anymore.” 

They moved into a Sacramento hotel at 3:00 a.m.

They checked every day on their house, making sure it was still standing, through their home security cameras, but she said that her husband had his doubts.

“Okay, we’re going to go back, and we don’t have a home anymore. It’s like it’s in his mind,” Gaut explained. “I said, ‘Just pray. We’re going to go back with our house still there.'”

The family returned to their home Friday night.

“It’s like tears of joy. Because we still have a home,” Gaut said. “I feel bad for the others that don’t have a house anymore.” 

Pollack Pines homeowner Rick Poggio told FOX40 he felt nothing but gratitude after he got home last night as well.

“It’s so nice to be home. And I just pray for everybody else up the hill,” Poggio said. “It was awesome. I actually kind of broke down a little bit, kind of breaking down now. I’m a former volunteer firefighter. And I just want all of the first responders to know how important they are, how much we appreciate them.” 

Residents are still on alert in case the fire threatens the area again.

“We like the direction that it’s going. The weather has been on our side the last couple of days. We’ve been able to really bolster our containment lines. We’ve done backfiring operations, dozer lines, the heli-attack crews been phenomenal with air drops,” said Metro Fire Capt. Parker Wilbourn, the public information officer for the Caldor Fire.

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