Phoenix, Ore, a city of 4,500 inhabitants located about 20 miles from the California border, has seen perhaps more fire destroyed this year than any other city.
September 8 For a few hours, the Almeda fire traveled on the highway through Phoenix and neighboring talent, wasting many cities. Local officials estimated that the fire destroyed nearly 1,800 homes and businesses.
The ruins were so widespread that a week later, authorities were still blocking access to the city, worried about the danger of lowered power lines and sinkholes. As a result, Jack Nice, a Times journalist, stood on the outskirts of the city trying to find his way.
He was then picked up by a yellow school bus piloted by a local pastor. “I can take you there,” said Pastor Lee Gregory. – No one else can.
An emotional tour through the destruction followed. Dozens of mobile home parks inhabited by retirees and immigrants were destroyed, including Ramona Curiel de Pacheco and her family. Mexican immigrants had a happy life in Phoenix, but now their homes are gone and they had no insurance. “Everything burned us down,” she said. “We couldn’t even get our children’s documents.”
Also burned was the Barkley Tavern, the long only Phoenix bar built in 1898. Mr. Gregory got off the bus to inspect the burnt remains. “As in most tavernas, so in a place where people have found a lot of communion and friendship,” he said.
As soon as he passed the Phoenix in Talent, Daniel Werner searched the rubble of his former home for a box containing the ashes of his dead wife. She died of cancer 11 months earlier. Next to Cherie Grubbs was looking for a memory of her son, who was murdered in 2011.