Monday marks deadline for North Bay fire victims to apply for clean-up aid

SONOMA, Calif. (KGO) -- If your house burned in Sonoma County, then no doubt you know Monday is the last day to sign up for the California Department of Emergency Services and FEMA to clear your lot, so you can begin again.

Roughly 80-percent of homeowners have done so, and probably more, now, based on the line outside county offices.

Every person walking through the office door has a story to tell of a home lost, a pet lost, and in some cases, loved ones lost.

The telling by victims and the listening by volunteers has become an unofficial part of the process.

Like George Sprague, who clutched the papers he signed allowing crews to clear his property. But how does a man pick up and begins again at 93, even a youngish 93.

Tears welled in his eyes. He looked away. George isn't sure, yet, but his son, Mike, will get him through.

Byron and Joanne Bartlett took the surprise prize on Monday. They walked in carrying the remains of their living trust, which during the fire, had also been a burning trust.

It's the only item of value they could save from the ruins of their home in Coffey Park. Joanne needed to open the pages by using a tweezer.

From ashes, now they have a foothold on hope.

After leaving the office, ABC7 News visited the Bartlett's "former address," as Joanne calls it, and found a sign placed a sign out front behind the remnants of a white picket fence.

It reads, "Firefighters, thank you for trying."

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