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Family Returns To Burned Home


Some of the families who lost their homes in the Black Forest fire got a chance to see them for the first time Tuesday night.

11 News reporter Alyssa Chin and photojournalist Pedro Laumbach went with the McDermott family as they returned home for the first time since the fire started.

"Baby, I’m so sorry, oh my God, oh Lord All Mighty," Sally McDermott said to her husband Craig as they walked up to what used to be their home for the first time.

"It's hard to think there were three stories of house here, and now there's no house," daughter Jenni told us.

The McDermott family lived in their home on Herring Road for 13 years. Craig and Sally built the home on land owned by his family for nearly five decades.

It's the home Jenni grew up in.

"I think the hardest part is watching my mom," she said.

Forced to evacuate Tuesday afternoon, they watched the fire grow and they knew their home was destroyed.

Now as they return for the first time in a week, they discover the fire's unpredictable path.

"Look Craig, go look, they survived,” Sally said pointing to two statues in their garden. “Let's see if we have any radishes."

"Is it hard to remember what the inside looked like because you can't actually see anything but what's here? No actually I can see it, I can see it really clearly," Jenni responded.

In the detached garage on their property, what's left are pieces of Jenni's great-grandmother's china.

"I'm glad there's something. You can prepare as much as possible, but you can't really prepare for it,” Jenni said.

“These are good Halloween decorations, they're extra scary," Sally replied pulling a ceramic pumpkin from the rubble.

So for now they hold each other close, and rely on their family to get them through.

"I think we're just cried out at this point in time, we knew it was gone, and there's nothing. No more emotions to give it. We’ve given it all we've got." Craig said.

"We lost a lot of things but we didn't lose any lives," Jenni added.

Now, a tough decision for the McDermotts and their future, here, on their family’s land.

“Whatever we take, we’ll take with us, we may or may not rebuild,” Sally said.

They were only able to go home for three hours, and as of now, don't know when they'll be able to return for good.


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