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Montecito homeowner on Thomas Fire destruction: 'Stuff can be re - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Montecito homeowner on Thomas Fire destruction: 'Stuff can be replaced, people can't'

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Homeowners had a chance to see their destroyed homes Sunday morning after the Thomas Fire ripped through Montecito over the weekend. 

"This is incredibly hard to look at," said Michael Berhman. "Like my wife said, we are very appreciative what everybody has done to try to protect the house and to salvage what can be salvaged now but I mean, it's hard to put into words. This is where we live."

Families impacted by the fire have been riding an emotional roller coaster, especially after learning that firefighters were able to save some unexpected precious items.  

Three homes were destroyed; two were on Park Hill Lane and the other was on Park Lane.

"We had gotten some of that stuff out with the evacuation but they got a lot more family photos out," Berhman said. "The house can always be rebuilt but a lot of these thing can't. A lot of things were family gifts and have been around for a long time."

The family says seeing their home destroyed is extremely difficult to process.

"I forgot Christmas is in a week," said Nick Berhman, Michael's son. "It's in a week I think. My birthday is three days afterwards. I have been so stressed thinking about the house and the fire and what could happen and now ... I don't know what you do."

A few feet below the Berhmans, the Byrnes are also without a home. In this tough time, both families have turned to the firefighters for gratitude and appreciation. 

"Thank you so much," thanked Niki Byrne to the firefighters on scene. "We appreciate everything that you did for us. I'm going to give you a hug. Thank you so much."

The Byrnes have been living in their home for the past 20 years.   

Despite losing their home, they remain in high spirit because they still have each other. 

"Nobody got hurt here," Byrne said. "Stuff can be replaced but people can't. It sounds like it turned into a fire-storm so it's better than the house burned and people are safe."

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