Cocos Fire in San Marcos area nearly contained

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - The smoldering remnants of a nearly 2,000-acre wildfire that destroyed more than three dozen structures in the San Marcos areas during last week's spate of San Diego-area blazes was nearing full containment Tuesday, authorities reported.

As of midday, crews had the burn area of the so-called Cocos Fire 93 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. A total of 514 firefighters remained on the lines, equipped with 21 fire engines, three water trucks and a bulldozer.

The cost of fighting the non-injury blaze has reached about $6.2 million, officials said.

The fire destroyed 36 homes and a commercial building after erupting late Wednesday afternoon near Cocos Drive, just south of Cal State San Marcos. The cause is under investigation.

All evacuation orders for affected neighborhoods were lifted by Sunday, though those returning to their homes were urged to use caution due to continuing firefighting activity in the area.

Woman whose home was spared in fire still struggling

The Cocos Fire ripped across Harmony Grove and stopped just feed from claiming P.K. Cucinella's house.

"It's amazing how little stuff has real importance," she said.

Her house matters to her because her husband, Nick, built it for her 15 years ago. He lost his battle with cancer six years ago.

"He was the kindest, sweetest man I've ever met," Cucinella said.

She loved the thoughtful little things he did, like how he carried her purse at the grocery store. She still wears her wedding ring and acts like she has a childhood crush.

"[He's] adorable," she said with a big smile. "I'll show you a picture of him so you can see what he looked like."

Those pictures she holds so close to her heart were at home when the fire broke out, all while she was in England. She took an earlier flight home and while switching planes in Seattle, she learned her home was in the danger zone.

On Thursday morning, she put her 185-pound dog named Bubba Dog and two cats in a carrier, and since the third wouldn't fit, she put it in the trunk of her car and headed down the hill to her in-law's house.

"I just took pictures because I can't get new pictures of him," she said.

Her husband wasn't around to protect her like he did when the Harmony Grove fire broke out many years ago, but firefighters saved her home this time.

"They protected my house and I'm just very grateful," she said. "I thank every firefighter I see."

She's still upset the trees Nick planted were burned, but she's hoping they'll grow back.

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