SOMERSET (CBS13) – Evacuees Friday were patiently waiting outside barricades hoping they’ll be allowed back home soon as the Caldor Fire burned through El Dorado County.
The town of Camino—along Highway 50 between Placerville and Pollock Pines—was under mandatory evacuation orders, but not everyone chose to go.READ MORE: Video Released Of Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting Of Tahoe Park Resident Who Shot At Authorities
“We stayed around until yesterday. My wife, she has Alzheimer’s. New surroundings are really stressful on her,” said evacuee Dale Thalhofer.
Thalhofer said his wife had an appointment, which forced them to leave.
“So we went out of the perimeter and then they wouldn’t let us back in,” he said. “They said if we let you in, we’ll have to let everyone else in.”
Now, they’re desperate to find a room, but with shelters at capacity and hotels filling up, it hasn’t been easy.
Thalhofer said it’s important he gets his wife, Cynthia, home soon.
The pair were feeling fortunate they will eventually have a home to go back to but for some, a more stark reality lies past California Highway Patrol roadblocks.READ MORE: Coroner Identifies Passenger Killed In Wrong-Way DUI Crash On Highway 99
“It’s gone. It’s completely leveled,” said Grizzly Flats resident Bob Echeverria.
His home, which was built by his father, was destroyed in the Caldor Fire.
“I always wanted a home in the Sierra, so he built that home for me. He passed,” Echeverria said.
He said the roadblocks prevented him from seeing what’s left of his home.
“They’re preventing me from going up. My pets and my fish are still there. I have nothing left to save but them,” he said.
Echeverria is sleeping in his car right outside the evacuation zone until he can return home, while the Thalhofers finally secured a room for the weekend.
“We have a place to stay tonight,” Dale Thalhofer said Friday night.MORE NEWS: Looting Suspect Accused Of Dozens Of Thefts Arrested In South Lake Tahoe
Fire officials tell CBS13 they’re expecting strong winds this weekend so they’re asking evacuees to be patient. Those strong winds could make this fire unpredictable and it’s safer to have the evacuation zone empty for now.