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Relief, Anguish As Wall Fire Evacuees Receive News On Whether Their Homes Survived

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

People lined up on Tuesday July 11 in Oroville to find out if homes burned in the Wall Fire.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Residents evacuated due to the Wall Fire braced for news Tuesday afternoon on whether their homes survived. While some evacuation orders remain, containment for the blaze has grown to 55 percent. 

On Tuesday, CAL FIRE confirmed homes were destroyed. Inspectors mapped 41 homes and 46 other buildings.

Dozens of people lined up at the Oroville Municipal Auditorium to find out if their homes were on the CAL FIRE list.

James Baker assumed his house was a total loss and was overwhelmed when told it had been spared.

"Well, from what my neighbor told me, he told me that my house had burned down and I couldn't go up there," said Baker while sobbing. " I'm happy now."

For Rich Snelson the news wasn't so good.

"They came in and they said, 'Good news! The house is standing.' And I said, 'You're crazy!' So, they talked to the cops and said, 'He's right, it burned down,'" Snelson said. "They just had their paperwork crossed."

Dean Clendenen was one of dozens in line to find out for sure if he had a home. He says fire threatened it twice in the last four years.  

"We evacuated both times and it missed us both times. But, this time, it got it," he says.

Government agencies were on hand in Oroville Tuesday to provide information for people who plan to rebuild.

David Dewey is grateful for his good fortune.

"It appears like I kept my childhood Model A and the house and my toy train collection might still be there," Dewey says.

CAL FIRE has rescinded some evacuation orders for areas outside the fire lines and is expected to lift more once Pacific Gas and Electric restores power and cuts down several hundred trees. 

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