I've seen areas hit hard by other fires, but most of that has been out in the brush and wilderness. I've never seen so much destruction this close to home. The mobile home park that was hit by the Sayre fire looks like somebody dropped a bomb on it.
For people who have been there, done that and seen everything, the crews I've talked to are all saying they've never seen this level of destruction of homes and property from a fire.
The actual numbers have sort of fluctuated in reports, but the last I heard, the number of homes completely destroyed (just in the mobile home park) was around five hundred.
I know there have been larger disasters in the last few years, but it's hard to imagine so many people losing everything.
Maybe it's that it happened so close to the city. It just seems like these things are never so far out of control, but I suppose it was just a combination of circumstances that made this fire so difficult to fight.
Photo provided by the Harris Family.
Last night we covered one of the few happy stories to come out of this weekend.
We talked to a couple who's home wasn't lost in the fire, but they were evacuated and didn't know if their home was safe. After the fire, a relative spotted the couple's home in a helicopter shot in a TV newscast. He happened to have a TiVo DVR, so that relative then took a digital still shot of the TiVo'd video footage and sent it by email to the couple through their daughter's iPhone.
The picture was able to confirm for them that their house had survived.
Of course, it's bittersweet. Their property was spared, but most (MOST) of their neighbors lost everything in the fire. Sadly, it's still too soon to know if the neighborhood will ever be rebuilt.
Even then, they worry that many of their neighbors won't be coming back. Their concern is that even after rebuilding, life in the mobile home park won't be the same.
I'm sorry for them, but it won't be.
Life will go on (I have strong faith in that). People will recover from their losses both great and small. They can rebuild the community if that's what they want. Sadly, even if they rebuild into something new, wonderful and even better than what they had before, what they had before is simply gone.
Who doesn't understand their need for time to grieve?