One year ago, the most devastating fire in our area’s history took place. The fire didn’t last long but its rampage will be felt for a very long time.
It’s a day we won’t soon forget. After the Johnny Creek fire years ago, we knew how dangerous a fire on that side of town could be. Our worst fears came true at around 2:30 PM that afternoon.
We knew almost immediately that this was the big one. Frantic calls for every available unit filled the scanner as the first responders knew they were out gunned.
Almost immediately a full scale evacuation was in effect from Mink Creek to Cahina Way. Holt Arena became the temporary home for many who didn’t know what if anything would be there if they ever got the opportunity to return to their homes.
“I was just really worried,” said an evacuee. “I was trying to stay calm and try to think through the situation but I was honestly really concerned.”
By daybreak, crews pretty much had the upper hand and as the smoke cleared we began to learn just how many people had lost everything.
“All of these people have lost their homes,” said an Army Soldier. “It blows my mind just how many have lost everything.”
Millions of dollars in property were lost and hundreds of people were displaced. It would take the combined effort of many to even come up with a plan to rebuild. The processes started the evening after the fire with a meeting at city hall.
Still, it wouldn’t be until Monday that most of the evacuees could begin to trickle back to see the devastation for themselves. Some lost a little, others lost it all.
In the days and months to come, eastern Idaho would come together to help. It’s been a long process that continues today.