FRUITLAND, Utah – The owners of a cabin in Duchesne County said it was a miracle that their cabin was still standing after the massive wildfire that burned much of the surrounding area.
Deborah Andrus had to see it all for herself. She stood on top of a mountain ridge Sunday, looking out over thousands of acres of burned land and trees.
“This was our happy place,” she said. “I can’t even believe it.”
It was the first time Andrus had seen what was left of her property since the Dollar Ridge Fire burned through Duchesne County.
“I was at the fire meeting, and I knew our cabin was gone,” she said.
Her husband, Mark, pointed to a red cabin on a fire map.
“Red means it’s gone,” he said.
“It’s true. We had cried together and what we said was, we know it’s gone,” said Deborah. “We mourned it – but, we believe in miracles, and so we did have that one-percent hope.”
Sometimes, that one percent is enough.
“It’s just amazing. I still can’t believe it,” said Deborah.
When Mark was allowed to visit the area a few days ago, he was shocked to see the family cabin was still there. It wasn’t even burned. However, almost everything around it, in all directions, was burned.
“It’s all crispy now,” said Mark as he touched some bushes near his home. “It’s totally singed. If I do this, what, six feet? I’m six feet from the building.”
Of their ten acres, 9 and a half burned. Their cabin is on the half acres that didn’t.
“It’s just a miracle, really. Because the winds were so fierce. There’s really no explanation,” said Deborah. “It’s very emotional. I just can’t believe it. You can see how the fire just split. It came up to the right us and it came up to the left of us. And behind us. But the cabin is okay.”
Even though they consider this their own personal miracle, they feel horrible for all those people who lost their homes.
In their particular area, on their side of the mountain, every other cabin burned to the ground.
“We feel so bad for our neighbors and our friends who have lost their cabins and homes all around us. Very sad,” said Deborah.
Their spectacular views now include devastation in every direction.
However, they are thankful.
They’re thankful for the firefighters who were around their home and helping to protect it.
They’re thankful for the helicopters dumping water from above.
They’re also thankful for what they feel is a miracle… and one they can’t deny.
“We just really can’t believe that it’s still here,” said Deborah.