Lilac Fire evacuees return home: 'Thank God that they all lived'

Now that evacuation orders have been lifted, residents who were evacuted due to the Lilac Fire are getting a first-ha...

Posted: Dec 11, 2017 6:14 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2017 6:14 PM

Now that evacuation orders have been lifted, residents who were evacuted due to the Lilac Fire are getting a first-hand look at the destruction left behind.

Some are now beginning to pick up the pieces of what is left, while others are in awe that their home is still standing.

FOX 5 was with Dale Heath as he first stepped back into his Rancho Monserate home Sunday night.

"Some stuff probably was strewn around from us leaving, but wow. It looks, I mean you wouldn't know there was a fire in here," Heath said as he walked through the door.

As he walked through the kitchen, a vivid memory flashed back.

"We were looking out this window here. My wife was here, and you can see the ash here, but this is where we first saw the smoke," Heath said.

Shortly after, his family found themselves evacuating. In the coming hours, he saw the video of his neighborhood on fire.

"It was hard to take in. It was just hard to take in," Heath said.

He later found out his home survived and he could not believe it.

"It was unbelievable when we were still there," Heath said.

When FOX 5 asked how he felt about actually being back home, he said he had mixed emotions.

"It's like we are so fortunate to be unscathed when all this has happened right here. I mean look at that. Desolation. Unbelievable. Unbelievable as far as you can see with this flashlight all these homes are gone right at the end of the bank, and yet here's a tree not even touched. Crazy," Heath said as he showed FOX 5 his neighbors' burnt down homes from his backyard. "The heartbreak that those people are suffering. I just don't know what to say. Thank God that they all lived. That's what I say."

Heath knows things will not be quite the same in his neighborhood again, but he said his community will get through this tough time.

"We're not a neighborhood where we don't know our neighbors. We know them intimately and do a lot of things with each other, but that's the good side, right? That we'll help each other through all this for sure," Heath said.

Some residents are returning home to no electricity. Crews are working to restore power as quickly as possible. Firefighters are encouraging residents who are going back to their neighborhoods to be vigilant of hazards like electrical wiring. If you see any hazards like that you are asked to stay away and call SDG&E.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
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