It was an emotional day as residents lined up near the intersection of Griffin and Fritch fortress to see their homes for the first time since the fire broke out on Sunday.
â??We were one of the first ones they let in. From the moment you come in until you get to your house, youâ??re heartfelt for other people and then you pull up to your own home and itâ??s not there. Itâ??s just devastating,â?? said Jonathon Yohn, a Fritch resident whose home was completely destroyed in the fire.
Damage assessment by officials shows that 225 homes, mobile homes, or RVâ??s were lost in the fire. A total of 368 structures were destroyed in the fire that spread well over two thousand acres.
â??My nephew came up to me and my wife, and said, â??I want to go homeâ??. He asked his mom about it and she had to tell him what happened. Then he came up to us and said, â??We donâ??t have a homeâ??,â?? said Yohn. â??It is not just a grass fire. Itâ??s a lot of homes. Itâ??s a lot of families displaced.â??
Though residents were allowed to return and examine the damage today, the area is still not completely safe. Utility workers and police are still in the area, working on down power lines and standing by in case anything happens. At this point, containment still stands at 85%. Those numbers will not hit 100% until all of the hotspots and potential risks are taken care of.
â??Those houses that were affected by fire, theyâ??re damaged or destroyed, there could be possible hot spots in those areas of debris and as those homeowners are going back and trying to sift through, we want to make sure we address those hot spots and debris fields and get those taken care of so people are not injured,â?? said Troy Ducheneaux.
â??My streets, where I lived, itâ??s just leveled. Thereâ??s nothingâ?¦I just put my head down on the hood of my truck and just cried,â?? said Yohn.
Though thousands of acres were burned, there were no reports of injuries. Fire expert, Captain Jeffrey Lester, said a lot of that is due to the fact that local and regional fire departments were able to focus on the shifting winds that night and get those evacuations taken care of immediately where people needed to be evacuated.
â??The firefighting itself somewhat had to take a backseat because evacuations needed to take placeâ?¦ they were able to quickly pull the trigger and so those evacuations which most definitely saved lives,â?? added Ducheneaux.
Residents say going forward they want answers about how to move forward and what the cause of the fire could have been. They are looking for answers and hoping to get information and aid as soon as possible.