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Moab families impacted by fire that destroyed 8 homes share their stories

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jun 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-13 23:36:19-04

MOAB, Utah -- The homes destroyed by the flames in Moab Tuesday evening are now almost unrecognizable.

Wednesday morning, many homeowners got their first close-up look at the damage as crews still worked to put out hot spots. Fire officials said of Wednesday night the fire is 100 percent contained, but some evacuations are expected to remain in place until Thursday.

Rick Carrigan lost his home and everything in it. He told us about the terrifying moments when the blaze took over the trees above his house and quickly started moving toward his front door.

“I threw a hose over the fence to try to wet down the cheatgrass, and then you could see the smoke rolling in the creek and it stood up like a tornado and that log I was standing on filled with cheatgrass, it just blocked me off,” Carrigan said.

That's when crews forced everyone to evacuate.

“We got out with what we had on our backs,” Carrigan said.

He had no choice but to leave behind his three cats.

“I’m sad. We're going to walk there and beyond, if we even do find them,” Carrigan said.

Now his neighborhood is left burnt and charred.

“I’m sad and I’m disappointed, and there is going to be lots of time for tears, but we all just have to suck it up and rebuild—and that's what brings us closer together as a community,” Carrigan said.

Those in the community are the only ones who really understand the pain of losing everything.

“Everything we had was there, and we are getting ready to retire and now everything we have is gone,” said Janet Gay, who has lived in the area for 30 years.

Her home was the last one on the stretch of creek to be burned. But she's grateful her daughter's home, which is just a few feet away, was spared.

“We have five family members that live down there, and we're the only ones that lost our home,” Gay said.

All thanks to the heroes.

“Thank you, thank you so much that I still have my house to go to; I’m so appreciative with what they've done,” said Jodie Gay, whose home was inches from the blaze.

And while it won't be easy, this small town will rise from the ashes.

“I feel too fat, too old, and my knees hurt too bad: but we're going to chug through this, that's life,” Carrigan said.

Carrigan is getting help from the American Red Cross, while some hotels are stepping in to give others a free place to stay while they're displaced.