'It's gone... nothing's left': Texas wildfire survivor returns home to find only rubble
Several homes and buildings were burned by the fire, including the home where Deborah Copeland lived.
CARBON, Texas -- A wildfire that raced across the bone-dry fuels in Texas' Eastland County Thursday night tore into the community of Carbon, about 60 miles southeast of Abilene.
Several homes and buildings were burned by the Eastland Complex Fire, including the home where Deborah Copeland lived.
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"I was folding clothes and looked out the window and saw a sheriff parked out there on the road which is abnormal," Copeland told FOX Weather. "(I) went outside and the smoke was heavy, and it wasn't too long after that when (police) came and told me to evacuate.
She raced back into the home and began grabbing what she could as her husband tried to make it home, but highways were already blocked. Then the fire raced toward her home.
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"The sheriff came by twice screaming at me to get out, so it was urgent," Copeland said. She was able to grab her passport and her wedding ring and then made it out to her car.
"And drove off looking at my house not knowing whether or not we'd get to come home," she said.
She returned at 6 a.m. Friday to find charred rubble where her home once stood, likening it to "a bomb site."
"It's gone -- it's still smoldering -- nothing's left," she said. "The whole interior of the shop is completely disintegrated. It was a hot fire."
She says all she has are the clothes on her back.
"We're thankful that we're alive and thankful no one was hurt in fighting the fires and…now we start over," she said.
And starting over will be quite daunting.
"I can't think of a worse time in the history of the world to try to find real estate at a decent price these days," she said. "The thought of building again with builders and even materials -- it's a terrible time for this to happen. It's always a terrible time but… it's just a mess, so I don't know what we're going to do."
The fire has burned over 45,000 acres so far, but dangerous fire conditions persist in Texas.