VIDA, Ore. -- Residents in some of the hardest hit areas from the Holiday Farm Fire are getting their first look at the damage done to their homes.
Marcia and Carey Anderson have been married for 45 years, but have been together for 50. They returned to their Vida property to see for themselves what was left on Sunday and nearly everything was gone.
“This was our little piece of heaven,” Marcia said. “It still is, and it’s going to return.”
The Andersons have lived on the McKenzie River since 1987.
“We are going to rebuild,” Carey said.
They are neighbors with Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Protection District Chief Christiana Rainbow Plews. She and her family also lost their home but are the sole reason the Andersons were able to make it out alive.
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“She literally saved our lives,” Marcia said.“ We went to bed at 8:30 p.m. We had no idea this was going on. God bless her family.”
They said it is gratitude and the strong love they have for one another that holds everything together.
“This is a new beginning,” Marcia said. “We’re like phoenixes rising out of the ashes. We’re blessed. We’re 67 years old and starting all over again. We’re very blessed.”
The Andersons have extended a great amount of support and have opened up their arms to so many people over the years.
“We’ve never been on this end of it,” Carey said. “It’s pretty tough.”
However, they said their strength as a couple is keeping their spirits high.
“We’re strong apart, but we’re a force when we’re together,” Marcia said. “We’re blessed by our friends. We’re blessed by God. We’re alive. We have an opportunity to start over again. A lot of people don't."
They said they are grateful to have insurance because so many around them do not. Now, they’ll be waiting for their insurance company to clear everything out but not until a few more searches are made out to figure out what is left.
“We were looking for her wedding ring, which is like looking for a needle in a haystack here,” Carey said. “I’m just looking for anything that shows up here that’s still whole. We’re just wandering through to see what we can find.”
Found within the debris were jewelry pieces that Marcia holds close to her heart, as well as the ashes from both of their fathers that has been top of their refrigerator.
"This was my main concern finding my dad again,” Carey said.
“Me too,” Marcia said.
The Andersons are currently staying with close friends, but they said it felt so good to be home.
“We are McKenzie strong,” Marcia said. “We belong here, and our community is incredible. Thank God we had the neighbors we had.”