VACAVILLE, Calif. (KRON) – Homeowners in Vacaville are slowly coming to grips with the staggering losses some have suffered in the LNU Lightning Complex fire.
KRON4 met with a couple whose home was still standing after the initial wave of flames passed through their neighborhood but eventually, it burned down.
Before last week, the ride up Curt and Aree Hatton’s driveway in the Gibson Canyon region of Vacaville was a soothing pass through green trees ending with their home of nearly 20 years.
A modest 960 square foot little piece of heaven on five acres of land, that has now been wiped out.
Taken by the Hennessey Fire, one of the wildfires that make-up the LNU Lightning Complex.
“Very bad. I don’t know how to tell you,” Aree said.
“Shaken like everybody who either survived, or didn’t survive,” Curt said.
Last Friday, the Hatton’s learned their house burned down and they’ve returned everyday since to sift through the ashes and leave food and water out for their missing cats.
All while private contractors help fire victims in the community put out fire hot spots — The reason the Hatton’s home is gone.
“We’re hearing stories that unfortunately, our house survived the initial fire wave. Many neighbors who stuck around and stayed, saw it standing days after. Just burning embers that no one was here to put out. A gentleman the other day said you could have just stomped it out with your feet,” Curt said.
The lone bright spot, some of Aree’s art is salvageable but the good news essentially ends there.
Last month, Curt says he learned his department was closing down and being transferred elsewhere, so he’ll soon be out of a job.
Almost a year ago to the day, the Hatton’s paid off their mortgage and were making plans to retire.
“The morning of the fire, called the insurance company to file a claim, only to learn that I had no homeowner’s insurance. It had not been renewed four weeks earlier unbeknownst to me. I never received any notice. So, financially, just what do they call, a perfect storm situation,” Curt said.
Wearing free clothes they received at a fire victims distribution center, the Hatton’s grapple with the daunting recovery ahead but at least they have each other.
“I still thinking that we are still healthy. This life — we have to continue with our life,” Aree said.
Here, if they decide to stay and rebuild or somewhere else — if they choose a new start.