Spiritual community showing resilience after fire

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - Although many homes in the Harmony Grove spiritual community in Escondido were lost in the Cocos Fire, members of the community are showing resilience.

Chris Meredith says it is that spirituality getting him through the tragedy.

"This is a material loss for Harmony Grove. It's not a spiritual loss," he said. "We will rebuild."

Even though 22 homes were lost there, everyone made it out alive.

"We've lost a church, but a church is not a building, it is the people," said Meredith.

The best story of survival might just be the koi in Meredith's pond. Only four of 45 were lost.

"(The fire department) used their fire truck to pump new water into the pond," he said.

Members of the koi association of San Diego were there Sunday to help.

"We love our koi," said John Svelan, who is with the Koi Club of San Diego. "We think they have personalities."

Jerry Myers, who is also with the club, added, "They are just fish, but they're also people's friends. People love these guys. I have dogs too. Are they just dogs? Well, yeah. Cats are cats, animals are animals. It's the attachment that people put to them."

As for Meredith, he has a contagious sense of peace.

"At the end, things are going to get better," he said. "If they're not better at the moment, this is not the end."

Meredith says he has insurance and will rebuild. He wants to be back in his home in less than a year.

10News also spoke with Rick Bradshaw and his daughter Katy as they sifted through the rubble of the home that has been in their family since 1922.

"In my family for four generations … so to see it all burned down is a bit of a shock," she said.

Both had difficulty holding back the tears.

"That's really my salvation right now," said Rick Bradshaw. "I have to look forward to rebuilding."

Katy Bradshaw added, "I mean, it is what it is. There's nothing much we can do about it."

Although the fire reduced their home to ash, Rick Bradshaw says the most important components of the spiritual community remain solidly intact.

"The healing center remains," he said. "We have hope."

As for the Bradshaws, they say they did not have insurance, but they still plan to rebuild and they are going to do it themselves.

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