Families that have lost their homes to the Holiday Fire are now sifting through the rubble, searching for any belongings that are salvageable.
"Embers were raining on my property so I said goodbye to my property and got out of here," said Magnus Wedhammar, whose home was surrounded by flames Friday night.
Luckily, his home was still standing when evacuations were lifted on Sunday.
"Part of me feels joy seeing my house is still standing but it’s kind of hard feeling the celebratory feeling when you look across the street and these homes are gone," said Wedhammar.
The Rao family also evacuated from their home Friday night.
"We evacuated with our kids and our pets with minutes to spare," said Ishu Rao.
Time didn’t allow them to grab some of their most prized possessions, though. The couple, who have been married for less than a year, returned to their property on Sunday in search of a wedding ring.
"They’re sentimentally of such great value to both of us," said Ishu.
As luck would have it, the damaged ring was found in a ceramic dish where the bathroom once was.
Ishu then dropped on one knee for an impromptu proposal.
"It was only to put a smile on her face. It was such a somber, dark time and very heavy in emotion. It did make her smile so it was worth it. It was everything I wanted it to be," Ishu said.
The couple says they’ve received lots of offers for free wedding services, but they’re not planning on getting re-married anytime soon.
"I don’t think we’re in any shape to get re-married. We need to put a house together and the kids need bikes again, those are the important things," Ishu said.
Laura Rao is eight weeks pregnant. The couple says they’re expecting a newborn in February.
As for donations, the Rao family isn’t taking any help at this time. They ask that residents instead donate to the family of eight who lost their home just two weeks after moving in.
That GoFundMe page can be found here.
Couple sifts through ashes of home burned in Holiday Fire, finds wedding ring
Majority of animals at Wildlife Care Network saved during Holiday Fire
Temporary shelter set up for Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network following Holiday Fire
Resources available for Holiday Fire victims
Fire crews: First ‘repopulation effort’ deemed successful following Holiday Fire