Part I: Operation Rebuild Surviving Fritch
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 01:33:21 GMT —
While some families begin to rebuild what the Fritch fire burned away, some struggle to move forward just two months after the devastation broke.
Families in Fritch agree they received immediate assistance after the fire burned through hundreds of homes, but now, they say they need more help than ever.
"We still need massive amounts of help," Fritch survivor Chris Ellison said. "There are still people who didn't have insurance who lost thousands and thousands of dollars that they won't be able to get back because they're now living paycheck to paycheck."
An estimated 61 families have been identified as having no insurance on their homes, or not having enough insurance coverage in order to receive financial assistance to rebuild. That has left them with very few options including living out of campers, in-and-out of hotels and separated from immediate family. But for these families, when they stand in front the home they once had, they start to think of things they'll never be able to replace.
"My mother's cedar chest," Fritch survivor Lorna Wade said. "We just had a lot of...15 years of us together."
Ellison said he lost a BMW bike that had toured all 50 states, plus a home that had been passed down from generation to generation. Most of the survivors without insurance range from single-family homes to individuals living with a disability, but a majority are elderly couples. Every family unwilling to relocate, calling Fritch their home, although many are living in campers.
"We have our friends and family here, this is out home and you don't leave your home," 78-year-old Don Blythe said.
So for dozens of individuals leaving Fritch is not an option, even if it means camping out for months.
"No way, I'll never leave" Ellison said. "I have too many memories of being a kid here, of all my older uncles here at this home."