Some find their homes still standing in burn zone - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Some find their homes still standing in burn zone

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NEAR CLE ELUM, Wash.-- Mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted for a few areas inside the Taylor Bridge burn zone. Some folks are able to get back to their homes to see if they're still standing.

The ground in the burn area is blackened for miles. Homes destroyed, families displaced, and millions of dollars in damage.

"We were pretty sure we'd lose everything cause that fire was hot, the wind was raging, and the fire was moving fast," said Peggy Rhoden who was evacuated from the Ellensburg Ranches area.

But by some kind of miracle, and hard work by the over 900 firefighters, many people, like Peggy Rhoden, are returning to find their homes still standing.

"I'm happy that my house was spared and everything, but I have my life," said Peggy.

"Well they're heroes, and the reason why a lot of these homes made it are because of them. If they weren't here they would not be standing," said Peggy's son, Shane Rhoden.

Not everything escaped the fire though. When Peggy returned home, she found her shop, that had been here for over 10 years completely destroyed.

"My husband and I worked in that shop. I had a leather business in there. What I will rebuild, I don't really know yet," said Peggy.

She's one of the lucky ones though, crews say over 60 maybe 70 homes have been destroyed in the past five days and another 200 plus buildings went up in flames, just like her shop.

"Material things is not what makes up happy. It's not life, but our lives are what's important," said Peggy.

But she says her good fortune doesn't make it any easier when she see's how much others have lost.

"My heart breaks for my neighbors who lost their homes," said Peggy.

"I'm heartsick for my neighbors. It's hard to start over and a lot of our neighbors are older and retired and that even makes it harder for them," said Shane Rhoden.

So for now, all these families can do is clean up and try to move on.

"I'll replace what I need and, yeah," said Peggy.

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