COLLINSVILLE (CBS13) – Little is left in a small town about an hour southwest of Sacramento after a wind-driven grass fire ate up home after home.
Crews are still at the town making sure hot spots don’t flare up, but for one street, there’s not much left to burn. By the time fire crews arrived, it was already too late for a lot of the homes in Collinsville.
“Spraying to get it out. I couldn’t get it out,” said one Collinsville resident whose home was destroyed.
That’s when the Tackeet family ran.
There wasn’t time to grab anything, the fire chasing them from their home and burning parts of their clothes as they fled.
“Had my cash sitting in there, we was going to go pay some bills, and now I can’t because it’s gone,” said a family member.
Eight homes — half of the town — burned in less than an hour, fueled by dry brush and pushed by strong winds. Fire crews tried to wet what homes were left standing, worried embers would torch the rest.
“There was so much smoke you couldn’t see what was burning and what wasn’t,” said one person.
But when that smoke cleared Gary Duello saw his home wasn’t there.
“It didn’t take long. With the wind blowing it, it was like a blow torch,” said Duello.
Duello called his son who also lives at the home that’s now soot, rock and mangled metal.
“I thought I wanted to see it until I got here,” he said.
It’s not just the home and cars, the blaze also burned up part of his construction business.
“There was a 60 foot trailer full of tools and materials back there and my brand-new boat. Everything is gone; everything.”
The Red Cross is in Collinsville finding a place for these people to sleep.
But even with half Collinsville gone, Duello says he has no plans to leave.
“Ah, you just have to start building back again,” said Duello.