Placer County, California Fire Reduces Homes To Ashes

LOOMIS, Calif. -- Rocklin and Loomis area residents Thursday returned to sift through the ashes of what were their homes before a wall of flame roared through Placer County.

The fire burned 600 acres and claimed 19 structures, including three homes. One of those homes belonged to the Rothgeb family.

"I couldn't stop crying for a while, but I feel better now," Wanda Rothgeb said.

The Rothgebs moved to Loomis just three months ago from Southern California after their son convinced them to spend the rest of their retirement in a cottage next to him.

"That little house was just so comfy and cozy, wonderful," Rothgeb said.

For other families, Thursday's return was a sense of relief. Jill Boan said when she ran to her parent's Loomis home, firefighters and neighbors said there was no chance of saving it.

"It was purely an act of God. And I give all the credit to the firefighters too. Those CDF (California Department of Forestry) guys are amazing," Boan said.

Fire crews returned to the scene of the blaze, hosing down hot spots.

"What we're really trying to do is protect this spread and other structures that haven't caught yet. And make sure this thing is completely out before all the personnel is gone," said firefighter Jess Thompson.

Investigators have marked the spot where they think the fire began -- Interstate 80 and Sierra College Boulevard. But they do not know if it was an act of arson or just an accident.