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Jun 17, 2013 4:26 PM by Maddie Garrett

Heart of Black Forest bonds together as people return

As evacuation orders are downgraded in the Black Forest, folks are trying to see if they can get back into their neighborhoods and take a look at what's left. In the heart of Black Forest, some staples are still standing while homes all around are lost in the area of Black Forest Road and Shoup Road.

For the people who live there, and will go on living there, it's hard to take it all in.

"Everybody that I know lost their house," said Craig Schlicht.

Schlicht and his wife are waiting to see if there's anything left of their home in the Cathedral Pines area. It's listed as destroyed.

"My wife and I are coming out here to see if we have anything at all," he said.

For many, it's tough getting the courage to come back.

"I was told it was the hottest spot in the forest so I'm expecting nothing but match sticks, nothing, no trees," said Schlicht. "My wife and I are prepared to be emotional."

Across the street, a Black forest staple is still standing, the Firehouse On the Run barbecue joint. Owner Jeff Schickler is even turning on his "open" sign Monday.

"We'll get some meat going and try to be serving barbecue to the community as quick as we can," he said.

Schickler said when the mandatory evacuation orders were finally lifted, he couldn't believe what he saw when he walked through the door.

"I walked in, no smoke damage, like I said, we'll be throwing out some meats and dairy. We plan on being back up and bigger and better than ever and we're going to be here for the community," said Schickler.

Schickler says he wants to help any way he can, even if that means just getting back to business, "That's what we serve is comfort food."

Along side him are his two pillars of strength, his dogs. He was able to take them with him when he was evacuated. The youngest of the two is named Brisket and is the restaurant's mascot.

"They definitely help me, they keep you sane, every pet will keep you sane," he said petting the pups.

And keeping Teresa McGilton sane, who's business is ok but her home is lost, is the support of the community and friends like Schickler.

"It's unbelievable, the support is, I can't even describe," said McGilton.



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