Family sifts through rubble of incinerated home
June 27, 2007
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – Carry Loomis returned Wednesday to the ashes where her home once stood. She wanted to find her wedding ring, passed down from her husband’s great-grandmother in the 1800s.
She didn’t find it.
The quick search, however, did yield some small treasures.
“The moose door knocker lives,” she exclaimed.
Remnants were all around of life before they were evacuated Sunday when the Angora fire ignited, and has since burned 229 homes in South Lake Tahoe. Among the rubble: The now useless scuba tanks, a scorched snowblower, a destroyed dryer.
“I am bummed. That was a good dryer,” Carry said.
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Tom, Carry and their 12-year-old daughter Sid paid a short visit to their blackened property on Coyote Ridge Circle. Although public access hasn’t been granted yet by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, they gained entry by calling on the support of friends.
“Look at my bed,” Sid said upon finding a melted heap of metal. “Look at my bed. My bed is gone.”
Her mother looked on from the edge of the foundation that once shouldered the family’s 1,200-square-foot home.
“It’s been the hardest on her,” Carry said. “You know when you’re 12 years old your room is your life.”
To the family’s amazement, the lawn remained green, and the rear fence was intact. Sid spotted her bike, reduced to its metal frame.
Tom, a crane operator with Ed Cook’s Tree Service, surveyed the timber.
“That tree’s not dead,” he said about one singed tree in the front yard.
Returning to their Ford pickup, the family was approached by a television crew from CNN, whose satellite truck was parked in front of their property.
The family declined an interview.
The Loomises then took a drive around their ravaged neighborhood and surrounding areas. Sid spotted a house consumed by the fire her dad said was haunted.
“It’s not haunted anymore,” Tom said.
They passed by friends’ houses, checking if they survived. Tom took most of the digital pictures. The two adults mentioned several times that the damage, although heartbreaking, wasn’t as extensive as they thought.
Sid pined for a neighbor’s dog, Rocky, a Rottweiler/Australian shepherd mix, who likely perished in the blaze.
“He was little, and he was young,” Sid said.
Ideas for their new house were gathered from the tour. Since paved-stone driveways and bear-proof trash containers were unaffected, Tom and Carry made a note to look into them. Houses with aluminum siding, which looked like tangled piles of taffy, would not be an option.
“The houses with aluminum siding just crumpled,” Tom said.
Thinking of loss, Carry wished she’d have thought to grab several Christmas ornaments. Sid wished she would have saved more of her stuffed animals, a collection that once numbered more than 100. She was able to take three animals in the rush – a teddy bear named Teddy, a flamingo named Shrimp and an anteater named Rowdy.
Still, the family had each other. Carry believes her wedding ring will be found.
“I thought I was going to be hysterical, but it’s just stuff,” Carry said. “It’s sort of a relief now. Now I know.”
Sid felt differently.
“I want all my stuff back,” she said.
• Contact reporter William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org.