For areas where the fires have been out for days, the recovery is just beginning. At least half a dozen homes were lost near Sheppard on Friday.
Families not only lost homes, but also pets and even businesses from these fires. A lot of the progress in returning life to normal is underway. Cleaning companies are working on getting homes back to sanitary conditions. These people are fire survivors, confronting the damages this fire left behind. Kenneth Lamar Brown runs a lawn service company. Friday's fire claimed a lot of equipment for his business. He says, "My whole backyard was caught on fire; weed eaters and lawn mowers got pretty burned up".
Louise Jones lives not too far away from Brown. She didn't lose her home, but is repairing a lot of damage. She says, "Particularly, this wall here and the aluminum siding on the wall was damaged and the electricity. And my window was broken". She is neighbors with Pam Fox, who is also undertaking some serious clean up. Fox says her home has "smoke damage, a lot of soot got in the house, through the windows, vents, and air conditioning".
Cleaning companies were hard at work today. First Restoration Emergency Response Coordinator John Sinclair says the soot and smoke travels from the burnt homes to the non-burnt causing unsanitary conditions. For those whose homes weren't burned, there was still damage. Sinclair told us they are using chemical sponges to completely absorb the soot and smoke left on the walls of these houses.
Residents are working together to help the families whose houses weren't able to be saved. The Masman family across the street from Ms. Fox lost their house. Fox says the Masmans "are getting support from church, family, and their friends. And they are staying with friends right now".
Residents who lost their homes are staying either at hotels, with friends, or family. The Masmans plan to rebuild their home in the same area. The neighbors are trying to get together to help them, and other residents who were affected the most from the fire.
The Red Cross and the community also continue being supportive and giving donations to these residents. Cable, utility, and cleaning companies are working to have the homes, that are still standing, sanitary. They plan to have them back up and running by next week.