Jun 30, 2012 7:45 PM by Lacey Steele

Pinon Valley residents grieve for friends in Mountain Shadows

It's the fear of the unknown that hurts many evacuees, and for those in the neighborhood of Pinon Valley, returning home brought a mix of emotions.

They're breathing a sigh of relief, but they're grieving for their friends in Mountain Shadows.

"It never crossed my mind that something like this would happen until Saturday," said Michelle Alvis, a resident of Pinon Valley.

Pinon Valley is a place where people are walking their dogs again and unloading their cars, but not everything is back to normal.

"I was glad to come home, and yet I felt really scared at what I was going to see and how I was going to feel," said Alvis.

Luckily, no damage, but over fences and between hedgerows you can see how close the fire came.

"Those first 24 hours, I was definitely worried about where it was going because several of us saw it cross that ridge and how quickly it was moving," said Alvis.

One man saw the fire come down to the road when he went home to get something he forgot.

"Got the stuff and then ended up on Centennial, and the fire had come all the way down to Centennial, across from the Mormon Church," said Paul Durrenberger, a resident of Pinon Valley.

"The ash and the smoke were already pretty intense within 20 minutes of the evacuation order, yeah it was pretty major pretty quickly," said Alvis.

Alvis had been packing since Saturday.

"I was here by myself," said Alvis. "My children were out of town with their dad, and I knew I was going to be packing on my own. I wanted to make sure I took the time to think about those important things beyond documents. Those things that a lot of times you don't have the opportunity to save."

Now pictures and her kid's toys are in her kitchen, with her dogs who are safe at home.

She isn't afraid anymore, but she can't decide if she should unpack.

For many, they're happy, but grieving.

"Feel bad for the people up in Mountain Shadows," said Durrenberger. "We know a lot of people that go to Chipita Elementary School, and just wish the best for them."

"I feel blessed," said Alvis. "We all feel blessed in the neighborhood, but I feel like it's almost unfair. How close it came to us, and yet how unscathed we've been considering how much devastation is literally across the street from us."

Many just want to help out others as soon as they can.

Those we spoke to in Pinon Valley say they love seeing the community come together, so they have hope everyone in need will be taken care of.


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