A hopeful homecoming - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

A hopeful homecoming

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's been a long road back for an El Cajon resident, who lost his home in an East County wildfire. As Mike Busch walks up the steep slope of his Harbison Canyon dirt driveway, he's almost home - so near and yet so far.

"The driveway at the very end is the hump, because it's big cost item," said Mike.

On October 26, 2003, when mike fled the Cedar Fire, the driveway was least of his worries.

"It was just like lava coming over the tops," he said.

Mike returned three days later to find his home burned to the ground, over 100 houses were lost in Harbison Canyon.

"It's wiped out everything. Everything's gone," Mike continued.

Mike moved into a trailer on the property and began recovery efforts. It took him about a year to settle with insurance. Meanwhile, he started working on the property.

"I did the wall. I did all the footings on the house," mike added. "I put on the paper and the wire and did all the drywall. I put in the all the windows."

But along the way, another ill wind blew through Mike Busch's life:

"I got laid off from work."

First the savings went and Mike had to use the insurance settlement money for day-to-day expenses. Still, he pushed forward and now, he's run out of funds with one more project to complete. Before the county will let him move in, he must build a concrete driveway.

"I'm going to need help. There's like 37 yards of concrete just to do this," Mike said. "I figures it's going to be around $5700."

Nine years later, Mike stands in his driveway and can almost reach out and touch his dream.

"It finally looks like a house and feels like a house, but I tell you, it will kill me, if I can't get this done," he noted.

The Santa Ana winds took everything from him. Now Mike's hoping the winds of good fortune bring him home again.

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