Residents return to Santa Rosa neighborhoods hit hard by wildfire

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Residents of three hard-hit Santa Rosa neighborhoods are today seeing what, if anything, is left after the fire. Those neighborhoods include Coffey Park and people who live in the Orchard and Journey's End mobile home parks.

It's hard to imagine finding anything left in the ruins of Santa Rosa's Coffey neighborhood. But everyone has that one thing they hope to find and today was their day to try.

Renee Hernandez knew exactly where her husband left his wedding ring on the bathroom counter. Today she found what was left of it. The Hernandez's haven't been back to the ruins of their home since Monday; a police barricade has kept everyone out. Being on the outside has just added to their stress.

"Every day we come from Napa an hour to see if we could see if we could get in," said Renee.

RELATED: Roads remain closed as Santa Rosa residents air grievances about fire recovery

Authorities lifted the evacuation order today. Chaplains were on hand to offer support as fire victims assessed what was left, and grieved what was lost.

"It's just devastating to see everything gone. Everything we ever owned, all our baby pictures," said Renee.

For her 20-year-old, Ben Jr., today's mission was to recover the remains of the family pet. They had just put him to sleep and buried him in the backyard on Sunday, hours before the fires raged through here.

"I wanted to come back to get him because I want to be able to cremate whatever is left of him so I can keep it with me until we do have a new house here, so I can have a proper burial for him," said Ben.

But they do plan to bring Chuy's remains back here someday. This is where they will live and create new memories as a family.

"We love it here we want to rebuild perfect area," said Renee.

Only residents and their families are being allowed into the neighborhoods today and tomorrow until 5 p.m. It will be open to the public on Sunday.

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