North Bay fire victims decorate burned lots for holidays

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Patty Malnick lost her home on Hemlock Street in Santa Rosa's Coffey Park neighborhood in October's devastating Tubbs Fire.

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Every year, she decorates for the holidays.
Tuesday, she drove back to the neighborhood to continue her annual tradition.

"So far I have decorated my dead trees here. I put some bows on them," she said. "It's still

your home and it's part of you and you want to bring some cheer back."

Among the fire damage, we found Christmas trees, ornaments, and wreaths. Three stockings hung from a chimney - the only thing left standing at this home.

RELATED: North Bay residents grateful for surviving deadly fires

Malnick plans to rebuild.

But many others are choosing to sell. A difficult choice for some who either can't wait for a new house to be built, or don't have enough money to stay.
Diana Gorsiski with the North Bay Association of Realtors says it will take about two years to rebuild.

She expects a lot of fire victims will leave.

"When the Oakland fires happened, about 25 percent of people left. That's our guess on what's going to happen," she said.

Gorsiski says homes that would have been listed for around $500,000 are going for an average of $160,000 for a residential lot.

"I believe right now somebody buying a lot might be taking a little bit of a chance not knowing what the building codes will be and what the city's going to ask them to do for the structure of that lot."

She says it's too early to tell exactly how this will impact the value of neighboring homes and lots. Her big worry is that many fire victims will find themselves priced out of the Bay Area.

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