MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- People who live in the area of Riverview Drive in Madera returned to the scene of the devastation after a fierce fire ripped the neighborhood, damaging two homes and destroying two others.
Mike Varlas is heartbroken for his next-door neighbor Christopher Arias and his family, whose home is now reduced to rubble.
We walked through the charred property with Arias and his teenage daughter as they began to process the tragedy.
Arias says his son's letterman jacket and cap and gown, his wife's wedding ring and his daughters' childhood relics are gone.
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The family has also been searching for their beloved cat named Jackson.
Arias says while he's thankful the rest of his loved ones are safe, they are mourning the loss of irreplaceable items.
"Just tons of memories," he said. "You can't get those back."
One man who lives on the next street says how nervous he and his wife were as the flames raced toward the neighborhood.
Jennifer Carerra also realizes how close the danger came to her home and many others.
"We have ash all in our pool and all over our backyard," she said. "It's all over our roof and our solar panels. It shows how far the wind was carrying everything."
Multiple neighbors shared their concerns about the excess brush in the riverbed behind their homes.
"I feel like this could have been prevented, it's just unfortunate," Arias said. "I wouldn't want another family to go through what we went through last night."
But Arias says he and his family will rebuild.
"This isn't the end of our story," he said. "We are really resilient. We just got to keep fighting on, keep moving forward, keep our heads up, stay positive."
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