Cabin owner tries to pick up the pieces after wildfire

Credit: Gary Salzman / KTVB

Cabin owner tries to pick up the pieces after wildfire


by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB


Posted on August 21, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 21 at 6:10 PM

PINE, Idaho -- Firefighters are getting a handle on the Elk Complex Fire. It's now 85 percent contained, but it still left 38 homes near Pine completely destroyed.

Now, homeowners are coming back to their properties to pick up the pieces of whatever has been left behind.

What once was a lush forested area around Pine is now a blackened scar. And what once was a family cabin to Norma Odiaga and her family, is now a pile of ash and rubble.

"We have a lot of stories at this cabin," said Norma Odiaga, a resident who lost her cabin to the Elk Complex Fire.

The Odiagas' cabin used to be a 4,000-square foot gathering place for friends and family, a cabin that Norma Odiaga's father built more than three decades ago.

"We spent a lot of family time here. So, it's not just a place, it's a home to me," said Odiaga.

Norma learned her home was destroyed by the Elk Complex more than a week ago, but for her safety, she wasn't allowed in to see it until a few days ago. And when she finally did see it, she was filled with emotions.

"It just kind of blows you out of the water. Yeah... it's pretty devastating," said Odiaga.

KTVB walked with Norma as she was still sifting through the remains of the cabin and two out-buildings.

"Over there, you can't tell, those are hangars. My mother had a vintage clothes collection," said Odiaga. "Things are just scattered all over."

The oldest building on the property, somehow, still stands. But its melted tar paper and curtains show how intense the fire really was.

"Those firefighters, they're lucky they didn't lose their lives fighting a monster like this," said Odiaga.

She told us that it's hard for her to see her home reduced to a pile of ash and twisted metal, but reminds herself of the most important thing, that her family is safe.

"You better enjoy your days and make good friends," said Odiaga. "Otherwise, you'll end up with a pile of rubble and nothing to show for it."

As devastating as the Elk Complex Fire was and continues to be, the Odiagas say they're not going to let it chase them away, and they will rebuild.