ALPINE, Calif. (KGTV) - Residents are returning back to their homes after the West Fire displaced them for five days in Alpine.
The wrath of the flames tore right through Alpine Oaks Estates.
"I saw the black smoke rising and some flames and all of a sudden I was just petrified," said Eric Molden.
Residents weren't allowed back to their homes for five days after the fire. Molden has lived there for 25 years.
"My first instinct was to grab the ladder and get on my roof and hose down my house," said Molden. "I knew I had to go. I grabbed a few pictures and I left. That's all the time I had."
All evacuation orders were lifted but residents still weren't allowed back on the property. The San Diego Department of Environmental Health says the property owner reported a gas leak and was keeping it closed.
"If there was a gas leak, I certainly don't want to be around an area that's prone to being hazardous," said Molden.
Many residents had to stay with family, friends or pay for hotels. Molden's home is still standing, but others weren't so lucky.
"They know they're homeless now, but the realization of it I don't think has sunk in."
Even though they're back on the property, their lives won't be back to normal for a long time.
"I gave them support, gave them love, and that's all I can do really," said Molden. The county has issued a Boil Water Advisory for that area until all tests come back safe.