Fire victims attempt to settle back into routine |

Fire victims attempt to settle back into routine

William Ferchland
Nevada Appeal News Service

Dr. Brooks Martin found some relief from the anguish of losing his home of 26 years by returning to work.

It was Tuesday, he thinks.

“It was really nice to take my mind off things for awhile, just to get back in the groove,” said Martin, a doctor with Tahoe Family Physicians.

He is among those trying to find normalcy by returning to routines, whether it be work, exercise or even watching a baseball game.

“It’s nice to have part of your life that is not affected that much by it,” Martin said.

Mike Cullen is getting back into his routine. The chief X-ray technician at Barton Memorial Hospital stayed at his home along Grizzly Mountain Drive. He shrugged off calls for evacuation to save his home and neighbors’ vacation houses.

Recommended Stories For You

After living at the house for 16 years and remodeling it for five, Cullen wasn’t about to let an errant ember consume his dream house.

He and his wife, Tina, then hunkered down at their utility-less home, taking cold showers and cooking on a camp stove.

“We knew if we left we’d never get back to the house,” he said, referring to checkpoints barring people from entry earlier this week.

He planned on settling into a regular routine with a hot shower and steak Thursday night after power and gas return.

As the presiding judge of El Dorado County Superior Court, Suzanne Kingsbury is used to stress. Her house survived but was damaged by smoke damage, licks of flames on three sides and beneath its deck and is standing among acres of ashes. She worked throughout the week, deciding the fate of criminals and other matters of court.

“It’s an interesting thing. When you work in this job you learn to be calm and focused in a crisis,” she said. “It was difficult but it was achievable.”

Ken Bonham had to push back a road trip to Southern California from Wednesday to Saturday as he dealt with insurance agents and other business after his Mt. Shasta Circle home was reduced to rubble.

The trip was full of baseball and hanging out with his children. He thinks he can still enjoy it.

He planned to catch a baseball Wednesday, when his San Diego Padres defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-2. He hopes he can attend two upcoming Padres games, one at Dodger Stadium and one at San Diego’s PETCO Park.

“But the tickets burned up in the house,” Bonham said.

• Contact reporter William Ferchland at