‘Everything is gone’: Families return to Alpine after devastating wildfire


A family in Alpine observes the damage after a wildfire swept through the area in July 2018.

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SAN DIEGO — The Beaty family is in utter shock.

“We have nothing, I mean there’s nothing salvageable here,” said homeowner Carol Beaty.

A pile of ash and rubble is all that’s left of Carol and Mitch Beaty’s home. The mother and son returned to their neighborhood in Alpine after the fast-moving West Fire leveled properties in their tight knit community.

“We’ve lost everything. Everything is gone. Everything we’ve worked for, everything — I mean, years and years and years. I don’t know what to say,” said Carol.

The family had just minutes to get out and left with just the clothes on their back. Mitch says the fire moved quickly: “(I) saw smoke and then seconds later, flames.”

As the smoke cleared the family returned along with several others early Saturday morning. “Fire just comes so fast, especially out here. And I had my nephews with me. And I said we’re getting out of here,” said the mother and son.

The West Fire was the largest of three wildfires sparked in San Diego County Friday and destroyed several structures along Scenic View Drive. So far it has burned 400 acres firefighters are working on containment.

Officials are attempting to repopulate the neighborhood. SDGE and Cox crews began the tedious task of restoring power and communications. Firefighters are still spraying hillsides concerned about possible flare-ups.

As families slowly returned, many found little left of the life they once knew, just like the Beatys.

“I mean the shock hasn’t even hit yet, so I’m sure in a day or two we start putting things together and realizing what it costs to rebuild and where we’re going to go from there it’ll hit but right now it’s just shock,” said Carol.

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