Like many in Northern California this week, Patty Kuvelis is at a loss to know what to feel.
“It’s kind of mind-numbing. You’re not thinking, and even when people say what do you need… it’s like, well, everything!” Kuvelis said in an interview Saturday outside her gutted Loma Rica home.
Kuvelis and her husband woke early Monday to discover fire encroaching and beat a hasty retreat, gathering up as many animals and personal items as possible in their rush. They had to leave behind two llamas and several alpacas, making sure to leave the gate open to give the animals an escape route if necessary – but it turned out they had a better idea.
“One of the neighbors said the llamas and the alpacas were in the pond!” she said.
On Saturday, the llamas and alpacas were contentedly munching grain and alfalfa as Kuvelis and her husband started the daunting task of clearing the property, seeming none the worse for their ordeal.
The loss of a home, and all the irreplaceables it contains isn't a small thing. But when she considers that some of her neighbors didn’t make it out at all – four deaths have been reported in Yuba County so far – it puts things in perspective.
But along with the pain of loss and the task of rebuilding and replacing, Kuvelis is feeling a lot of gratitude. So many people have been there for the couple. Friends and coworkers have thoughtfully given care packages, the Red Cross has been extremely helpful, and even her insurance agent reached out to her before she had a chance to call.
During the ABC 10 interview, a neighbor stopped by with a care package and a Cal Fire worker arrived with lunch and words of solace.
“It’s just unbelievable, people just wanting to help,” she said. “Anything we need. We put in solar in May, and our salesman emailed us and asked if we needed a place to stay!”