Santa Rosa, California (CNN) The engine came roaring back to life, regardless of the vehicle being partially burned and melted. And even though their car may not look quite, Christina Lopez and her hubby concluded the fire-broken Honda Civic was secure enough to drive.
Lopez said she was anxious to have her car as a result she could get to work and take her 18-month-old child to day treatment. Her husband’s car was misplaced in the fire.
A good locksmith had to make a new key because the previous one was misplaced, along with the rest they owned, inside their now-destroyed home.
Whether it’s getting a new important or picking right up a replacement driver’s license or birth certificate, occupants are busy with the essential but mundane jobs of rebuilding their lives following the worst set of wildfires in California background destroyed almost 6,000 structures and claimed 43 lives.
Entire subdivisions were destroyed, including Coffey Park in Santa Rosa , where 1,300 homes were shed.
It’s been more than a month since the Tubbs fire leveled this middle-class network that was residence to teachers, cops and firefighters.
“I thought I would come by and get my previous closure before the cleanup happens,” said Katie Nilsen, who was simply just two weeks from putting her residence out there after an extended remodel.
“We absolutely adored every moment and every aspect of the neighborhood,” she said.
Things remain practically untouched since the October 9 fire, but there are a few striking visuals. Green grass can be popping up in the middle of some charred lawns and the first of all excavators are arriving to clear out the debris — a process that will take many months; no-one knows for sure.
Refreshing grass peeks through a charred lawn in the Coffey Park subdivision in Santa Rosa, California.
But there is also a new level of optimism as the first insurance checks are starting to arrive.
“A lot of cash,” said John Wimmer, who felt a bit relieved holding a large packet from Nationwide Insurance.
Coffey Park resident John Wimmer displays the newly arrived check from his insurance provider.
“We’ll put it inside our trust, so when this is all cleared, we’ll be ready to rebuild,” he said, displaying an optimism that the neighborhood will eventually go back to life.
Homemade signs like this now dot the charred Coffey Park subdivision.
But it’s clear the emotional pain is a constant burden.
“It’s sad. Can’t reunite Grandma’s china. Can’t reunite the pictures. Our existence foundation has been disrupted tremendously,” said his wife, Jody Wimmer.
The search for keepsakes can be an ongoing process. The sounds of shovels and rakes can be heard throughout the neighborhood.
No location to settle
There is also an ongoing search for short-term housing . Neighbors told us that locating an affordable rental residence in the region is practically impossible.
Many are staying with friends and relatives until they figure out a solution.
A message of resilience is spray painted on a street in the Coffey Park subdivision.
“There’s just so various moving parts. It’s hard to sleep nonetheless. It’s just so many,” said Evan Kubota, who doesn’t think he’ll prefer to rebuild in Coffey Park. He is worried about the lengthy timeline of not really being settled and how it might impact his two young children.
“Go two blocks away and it’s business as usual. For us, (moving there) most likely makes the most sense,” he said.
A month following the wildfire, every street in Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park subdivision looks just like this.
An army veteran who served in Iraq, Kubota said Coffey Park resembles a war zone.
“The amount of devastation here is on par. There’s simply little or nothing left, ” he said right before resuming his digging through the rubble seeking for lost armed service medals.