Homeowners find hope within the rubble - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Homeowners find hope within the rubble

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SAN MARCOS (CBS 8) - People who have lost everything in the wildfires are finding hope amidst all of the devastation. 

An evacuation order for all San Marcos-area residents was lifted Sunday as firefighters worked to fully contain the Cocos Fire. Cal fire is reporting that it is now 85 percent contained.

Nearly 2,000 acres have been scorched and 40 structures were destroyed. Tonight, some residents are seeing what's left of their homes.

Seeing first hand what's left of his Harmony Grove home for the first time, Chris Meredith can only describe in words what used to stand here.

"You can see my washing machine and stove that was part of the kitchen," he said. 

Wednesday night, as the Cocos Fire came barreling into this San Marcos community, Meredith had only 10 minutes to grab what he could and leave.

The following day, what he had feared was confirmed while watching the local news.

"When they panned over here...there was two fire engines and it cut to commercials...there was this intake of breath. Well, then it panned to our home which was no longer there," he said. 

Statues demolished. Appliances unrecognizable. A total of 28 structures destroyed.

But there was still something left.

In a pond Meredith built by hand 25 years ago - about 40 koi fish swimming as though nothing had happened.

"I think they've become a symbol of this community, that life is still going on," he said. 

Despite the loss, we found that sense of strength all over as others returned to the area Sunday.

Ana Luisa Kohls recovered china that was still in tact.

"That was the only thing that survived," she said. 

As for Chris Meredith, the spiritualist minister medium plans to rebuild within the next year, a place he's called home for 27 years and counting.

"At the end of the day, it's just stuff. It's like a church. The building doesn't make the church, the people do. And the people are still here," Meredith said. 
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