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 7:14 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2017 7:14 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
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Hendricks14485250
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Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
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LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
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Clay224332
Randolph215248
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Spencer193022
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Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
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Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
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Blackford111822
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Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
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Union6297
Ohio4977
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
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