Yarnell evacuees observe moment of silence at meeting - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Yarnell evacuees observe moment of silence at meeting

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Hundreds of people have been forced from their homes by this fire. Tuesday, a community meeting was held in Wickenburg.

For a lot of residents, it was their first chance to meet with fire officials. It was standing room only in the Wickenburg high school gym. They had to bring in extra chairs.

People were worried about their homes – but didn't forget about what was truly important here.

"As a testament to the guys who gave their lives I'm going to ask for a moment of silence," said Clay Templin, Incident Fire Commander.

A moment of silence in remembrance of the 19 who lost their lives battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Incident Commander Clay Templin says this firefight has the most emotional impact his team has ever faced. He also warned evacuees of what they would be returning to in 5 days.

"This fire burning exceptionally hot, there is going to be places that look like pavement. there is not one stick left."

The big question for these residents of Yarnell -- did my house make it?

"I did find out my house is standing. It is it is standing. I don't know the condition on the inside but its standing," said resident Michelle Jacobson.

Jacobson lives in a house with several heart shapes on it. A firefighter on patrol in Yarnell mentioned the unique heart house.

"Was able to ID and say that house that has the hearts on it is still standing, so someone walked by and said that. I always stay hopeful we'll find the exact condition as soon as we're allowed to go up."

Until then, the incident fire map was the focus of the briefing. Residents tried to figure out if their house is in a burned out area.

Most don't know what they will go back to, but they know what they found were old friends and neighbors -- a sense of community fire can't destroy.

"There are people here who seem to know their house is gone and are devastated, and so someone like me that thinks their house is standing, wants to help if I can," says Jacobson.

There are no hard numbers on how many buildings were lost in the Yarnell Hill Fire. About 200 homes are believed burned, according to YCSO.

Templin pleaded for patience from the evacuated residents. He said safety is tantamount right now. There are still propane tanks exploding in the area, and he can't send them home into a danger zone.

No one argued with that logic.

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