YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) – Dozens of homes have burned in the Cascade Fire. Yuba County officials are still assessing the damage and trying to contact families who have lost their homes.
“We went out and looked, and the fire was at the fence line,” said Christa Domingo, who lives on Cascade Way. “We were lucky to get out when we did.”
Walter Knotts took video with his cellphone on Sunday night as he sped down the hill and away from the flames.
“Well, this possibly going to be my home burning down,” Knotts said, watching the flames grow stronger in the distance.
He rushed to his parents’ home, banged on the door and told them to get out.
“She was thinking that we had to pack up things,” said Mariano Domingo, Knotts’ father. “I said ‘no, we don't have any time! We have to go now.’”
Christa suffers from lung problems and relies on an oxygen tank to survive.
“I only made it out with one emergency tank,” she said.
She spent the night in a hospital in Oroville and her husband returned to their property the next morning.
“It was a pile,” Mariano said. “It was nothing there.”
A few cars and a trailer in the back were untouched by the flames, but everything else had burned to ashes.
“The dirt is so hard,” Mariano said. “It looks and smells like blacktop.”
“The likelihood of anything being left in the rubble is pretty slim,” Christa said.
The Domingo family is one of the dozens now wondering what’s next.
“The news I heard was horrifying,” said Russ Brown, a spokesperson for Yuba County.
He says officials quickly set up an emergency command center when the calls started coming in.
“They want to know if a road’s open or closed, they want to know if they can get help with animals left behind, things like that,” Brown said.
The command center is open 24 hours a day, full of county employees figuring out what to do after so much destruction. There are an estimated 1,500 people still out of their homes, and they’re calling in to find out if their homes are still standing.
After leaving everything behind, the Domingos only have clothing they got from the shelter.
But Christa says at least they’re alive and able to rebuild.
“I’m lucky,” Christa said. “And I’ve still got my family.”