Caughlin Fire Affects Residents, Two Years Later - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Caughlin Fire Affects Residents, Two Years Later

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November 18 marks the second anniversary of the Caughlin Fire in south Reno.

In just one day, nearly 2,000 acres and dozens of homes were destroyed, leaving many families to rebuild their lives.

"It came up both sides of the back of the house," Inez Miles said. "So, it hit the laundry room there and it hit one of the bedrooms there and then it started moving forward."

The Caughlin Fire destroyed Miles' home, claiming almost everything inside.

But she says it would have been much worse if it weren't for some passers-by.

"For two years, I have been looking for those young people to thank them because they literally saved our lives," Miles said. "If they had left, if they had not continued banging on the door and the wall, we would've slept through it."

32 homes were lost after an electrical short of high power lines sparked the fire.

"That night, everything that could go wrong, went wrong," Reno Fire Department Chief Michael Hernandez said. "I can honestly tell you, that night, I lost more homes as a command lead officer than I have in my entire career."

High winds pushed the fire faster than crews could keep up with it, burning homes that appeared to be outside of the burn area, and power outages affected communication in many neighborhoods.

Despite the conditions, crews saved 4,500 homes.

"It was a perfect storm, if you will," Hernandez said. "The wind, the fact that it was very rugged terrain, the fuels were there. We had intermittent spot fires. The fire was literally leap-frogging over our crews, onto adjacent properties."

Many of those lots remain vacant. Some with nothing left but stairs to where a home once stood.

But most of the neighborhood has been rebuilt.

Miles was able to move into her home, last December.

Just one year after the fire.

"It's like we've been walking through a dream, this whole time," Miles said. "But we're home now. We're starting to get it together again."

Despite the hurdles she has gone through the last two years, Miles says she has a lot to be thankful for.

"The ups, the downs. I don't care," Miles said. "I'm happy to be alive. I love life. So, I just keep moving forward."

Written by Paul Nelson

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