Looking back at the Valley View Fire
One year ago this Friday afternoon gusting winds were fanning flames across the Dishman Hills, charring more than a thousand acres, destroying 11 homes and forcing thousands to evacuate the area.
One year has gone by and only five of the 11 homes destroyed in the blaze have been rebuilt.
Toby Rodrigues remembers where he was that day. He and his family were at home when they were told to evacuate.
“We grabbed the pets, my daughter grabbed her bible and we got out of there,” Toby said.
They watched from a nearby field trapped and unable to leave the area as smoke surrounded their home.
“You just stand there and watch, you can’t do much of anything, keep the family and the friends safe and go from there,” he said.
Thanks in part to the swimming pool at their yard’s edge Toby’s home survived.
“Kind of like an instant fire break from the fire,” Toby said.
Catherine Reynolds’s family lived a couple hundred yards away from Toby Rodrigues and his family but they weren’t so lucky. Her family was on a trip in North Idaho when they turned on the TV to watch their home burn to the ground live on the air. At first there was confusion as to whether or not it was their home on fire.
“Of course you’re watching it, looks like our house, is that our house, you know,” Catherine said.
And then Catherine, who was among many viewers who called KXLY during the live newscast of the fire, reluctantly accepted her home was burning live on TV.
“What do you do besides just sit there and watch it on TV,” she said.
When they returned back to their home from their vacation, they found everything was gone.
“There was nothing there … nothing … we had a cement roof all that was there … our house fit into one dumpster of ash,” she said.
The Reynolds family pets had been inside the home and died in the fire along with all of their personal possessions.
“Every photo, memories, every family photo, all gone, all gone,” she said.
One year later they have new pets and a new house is being built that the family expects to move in to this fall.
“You cry and you weep and you lost photos and memories but there’s more memories to be made,” Catherine said.
Even though they’re rebuilding their home and have new pets, the last year has been hard for the Reynolds family.
“If someone could go back and stop the fire, fix it, I’d sign up for that in a heartbeat,” she said.