Oak Fire: Newly married couple return to find Mariposa County home in ashes

'What was more important that was built in that... was strong bonds and a stronger love'

Amanda Aguilar Image
Monday, July 25, 2022
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A family evacuated due to the Oak Fire came back to find their home and belongings destroyed. But a few memories survived.

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Steve and Andrea Ward have been eager to get back to their home after evacuating on Friday afternoon due to the Oak Fire.

The wildfire ripped through Triangle Road, leaving nothing but destruction.

RELATED: Oak Fire explodes in size, Gov. Gavin Newsom declares state of emergency in Mariposa County

On Sunday, the Wards walked through the debris of what was once their home, looking around at what's left - heartbroken over the loss of most of their belongings, but happy to see a few memories somewhat untouched.

Like an address sign Steve recently fixed up.

"Just to see that space, I honestly thought it was going to be burnt to the ground. I'm surprised it's still standing," said Andrea.

A wooden arch also stood in front of their home, where the two said 'I do' not long ago.

Now only part of the base remains, the rest destroyed in the flames.

Though their home is transformed into dark, gray ashes, the couple says it's the memories that bring them hope of a brighter tomorrow.

"What was more important that was built in that... was strong bonds and a stronger love," said Steve.

As the Wards walked around their property, they learned the fire took pretty much everything. Everything but their strength and perseverance to rebuild not only their home, but the community.

But the couple are glad that they have each other.

"If I gotta prioritize keeping her safe versus keeping the house safe, I'm gonna take her," said Steve.

For the latest developments, photos and videos on the Oak Fire, click here.