VACAVILLE (CBS13) – The LNU Lightning Complex Fire destroyed parts of Northern California but in its aftermath, one family is looking to rebuild in the new year.
The Souzas’ property sits on 80 acres and all of it was burned by the august wildfires.
“It still feels like a war zone to me,” says Stephen Souza, who remembers the last time he saw his home standing. “The fire was coming up over the hill and it just roared this way.”
Stephen and his son Sullivan reunited with CBS13 four months after the LNU complex fire forced them out of their home.
“This was the kitchen area then that would be the living room and then my bedroom would have been right here. Right here,” said Sullivan.
“It’s heart-breaking. This was my dream house. It was paradise,” said Stephen. It was a nightmare that destroyed the family home but it left their memories untouched.
“I grew up here with my little sister and we did everything together. We climbed the mountains all over. Those were really happy times. It’s sad to see them gone,” said Sullivan Souza, who explains he and his dad are ready for a new chapter and it starts with rebuilding from the ashes.
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“It’s going to be a long process but I want to start fresh,” said Stephen. “It’s insanely important — it’s probably the most important thing in the world to me because I grew up here. This is my childhood.”
Despite the threat of worsening fire seasons.
“It would be a lot easier to run away and start new somewhere else but there’s so much here that happened and it’s in my heart. This is where I want to continue my life. This is my ranch you know?” said Sullivan.
In 2021, their new year’s resolution looks a bit different than most. The Souza family won’t be at a gym or traveling, they’ll be building back what they’ve lost.