NewsWildfire Watch


Couple loses dream home in Elmo Fire just weeks before moving in

Elmo Fire home
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Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 02, 2022

DAYTON - The Elmo Fire exploded Monday afternoon as strong winds blew the fire east forcing evacuations.

A couple from Dayton had been building their dream home for the last 18 months, they felt helpless as they watched their home go up in flames.

“We don’t know where to go…that was our life savings...we have no idea, it’s less than 24 hours so we’re trying to figure it out, we have two dogs in the car, and these are the only shoes I have so we just have to start over." - fire victim Lisa Holett

Lisa and Steve Holett lost their dream home in Dayton when it was destroyed by the Elmo Fire, just weeks before moving in.

“You can’t have home insurance until the home is finished, so we had construction insurance which is like that (small hand gesture) and my husband did it himself, so there’s no reimbursement for that either,” said Holett.

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Lisa was set to join her husband in retirement at the end of the year. Now she’s searching for answers thinking about what could have been…and what comes next.

“And we’re too old to do it again so, that was it, we’re not doing it again.”

Brigitte Cooley who has lived in Dayton since 1993 says she can’t believe what she witnessed Monday afternoon as the Elmo Fire blew out of control.

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“It moved, it moved! The smoke and the flames and the flames everywhere, here were little ones, there were little ones and pretty soon it’s almost like it was sped up, you just can’t believe it,” said Brigitte.

Brigitte is amazed by the pilots operating aircraft through the heavy smoke.

“To guide those planes through the smoke, I’ll tell you they deserve a raise, a bonus and recognition, this is like serving in the military sometimes you know, this is war, we have a war against this fire.”

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Lisa hopes nobody else suffers through the pain her family has endured, as the Elmo fire rages on.

“We just watched it go up in flames, we stood here, and it was our retirement home, our dream home that we’ve been building for 18 months, and it’s gone, all of its gone,” said Holett.

Those who would like to help Lisa and Steve Holett can do so here.