Santa Clarita valley

Families Devastated After Homes Lost in Sand Fire

"This was where my daughter grew up."

Though evacuations have been lifted for most of the 20,000 people displaced by the Sand Fire raging through the Santa Clarita Valley, some residents won't have homes to return to.

Little is left of the 18 homes burned in the fire. In a few, all that's recognizable are metal appliances.

The homes of three firefighters were damaged in the blaze. Tanya Robledo, whose husband James is a firefighter, said she doesn't know what to do now that her home is gone.

"It's devastating and it's shocking," Robledo said. "You don't know what's going to come next."

Pat and Kathy McCrary were able to salvage a few items from the remains of their home of 18 years. Sculptures their son made when he was 10 were burned, but intact.

A burned-out fireplace was all that was left of their living room, a space Kathy said held nearly two decades of memories.

"Our main family area was right there," she said. "This was where my daughter grew up."

"This was a beautiful place to live, until this happened," Pat said.

The McCrarys managed to save a few pictures before they were forced to evacuate. Now they are searching for other valuables they had to leave behind.

"I had a curio cabinet that was filled with collectibles," Kathy said. "I collected a lot of brass, and I'm finding just bits and pieces of that."

Pat was relieved to find that his motorcycle survived the fire.

"I had to get my Harley," he said. "It's perfect."

Some residents were concerned that items that survived the fire might not be there when they get back. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said more than 140 deputies are patrolling the area to make sure nothing is stolen while residents are away.

The U.S. Forest Service said homeowners' losses will be fully covered through a claims process. At least three families living in the damaged homes are not owners.

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