Residents of Wenatchee's hard-hit Broadview neighborhood return to destruction, vow to rebuild

WENATCHEE, Wash. -- It's hard to recognize anything in what used to be Ira Fagerland`s home. Piles of bricks and scraps of metal are all that remain.

"We all expected to come back to a house that was burned," he said Tuesday. "Knowing what occurred, we didn`t expect to see no damage. But there`s no way we anticipated this or expected this."

The Sleepy Hollow Fire destroyed 24 homes and three businesses from Sunday night through Monday. Fagerland's home burned to the ground.

After going through the rubble, Fagerland was able to salvage one family memento -- a brightly painted ceramic dish that his daughter made when she was younger.

"It stood out, it stood out," he said.

It`s broken into a few pieces. But Fagerland said finding it means a lot to his family.

"To us, that was a sign that we were going to rise above this and rebuild," he said.

Now he`s doing what he can to help his neighbors rebuild. Fagerland is the postmaster for Wenatchee. So on Tuesday, he had his employees resume mail delivery to the Broadview neighborhood.

"We want to try and get back to normal as soon as possible, and this is pretty insignificant but some people are depending on this service and we want to make sure we`re there for them."

He returned to the neighborhood to share that bit of news -- and find out how everyone else is doing.

"It was great to hear that everyone is safe, everyone has a roof over their head, everybody`s being taken care of."

He said that`s what`s important. And that`s why he says it`s OK if he doesn`t find any other personal items from his home.

"Memories are in our heads, that can`t be taken," he said.

Even though the fire in this neighborhood is mainly out, there are still a number of firefighters out constantly checking the ground, making sure nothing is burning underneath the rubble or brush that could ignite again.

In another part of the neighborhood, Desiree Schmidt and her children have set up a lemonade and water stand for firefighters still checking for potential hot spots.

"There aren't a lot of rewards that come from working in the role of a servant and that's what they are, so we really just want to say thank you," Schmidt said.

Many later attended a community meeting Tuesday night to talk about the fire and hear about the firefighting strategy.