California wildfires bring family back to Kansas

Firefighter Nick Gonzalez-Pomo, of the San Rafael Fire Department, waters down smoldering ashes on a garage Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through the California wine country sending thousands fleeing as flames rages unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The California wildfires ripped through over 15,000 acres of land and destroyed nearly 1500 homes. Some people had nowhere to go and others fled to a loved ones home or went back to their own roots, like the Carpenter’s, who left Santa Rosa to move back to Wichita.

“We were basically pushed out of out home, said Krystal Carpenter. “Renters are pushed out of their home because landlords have family that have lost their homes and need places to live or landlords themselves lost their homes that they were living in and now need to live in their rentals.”

Krystal said her and her husband’s rental home was one of the only left standing on the block so, the landlord asked them to move out.

“His daughter lost her house; almost everyone lost their house.”

The Carpenter’s said before they got the short-notice evacuation request, they were already wondering if moving would be the best option for their 2–year-old son, Zander.

“The number of looters and rise in crime is pretty scary and us having Zander a 2-year-old,” said Krystal. “It’s not somewhere where we want to continue raising him.”

The Carpenters now live in the Riverside area, and they say they could not be happier with their decision.

“We get to be closer to her mom and help out,” said Jeremy Carpenter. “It’s just really hard to live everyday normal life after that. A lot of people were so devastated by the fires that I just don’t really understand how people could live day-to-day life after something like that.”

The Carpenter’s showed pictures of their old neighborhood as proof that there was nothing left there for them.

“I was going to K-Mart one day and pulled up and realized it was burnt down,” said Krystal. “Our doctors offices burnt down, our schools, the daycare that Zander was going to —  burnt down so, all those kids are displaced.”

The Carpenter’s admit that the transition will not be easy but say they are happy to be back in Wichita. Krystal adds that neighbors have already started to give them furniture, to help them get their lives back on track.

“He actually already has some job offers too,” she said looking over at her husband.

For information on how you can help families who have lost their lives to a natural disaster, contact you local Red Cross.


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