PHOENIX, Ore. — The start of September 28th was nearly identical to the start of September 8th in southern Oregon. A fact not lost on the residents who lived through the Almeda Fire.
"I think everybody woke up this morning a little bit, you know, nervous," Jon Cordonier, a Phoenix resident who lost his home in the fire, said. "[This morning] was just like it was that day. It's a blue sky. The wind's blowing it's warm. Beautiful. That's what we all thought and felt."
The Almeda Fire turned a near-perfect day into anything but. The flames destroyed over 2,500 homes with much of the damage concentrated in Phoenix and Talent. When Cordonier returned to his neighborhood in Phoenix the day after the Almeda Fire, the view was vastly different.
"To look out and look out clear to the highway now you weren't supposed to be able to do that," Cordonier said. "And so when coming in, hell, you didn't even know where you were."
Now Cordonier is going through what's left of his home to see if he can find belongings that survived the intense heat of the fire. He's just trying to find anything that's left. He's been helped by Samaritan's Purse, a volunteer organization that can safely sift through the remnants of a home, in searching for one thing left behind.
"My wife's ring," Cordonier said. "Her mother's ring and her wedding ring. That was given to her by my mother."
While he still hopes to find it, he knows he has the most important thing with him now.
"If I can find that one thing, that would be great," Cordonier said. "If we can't, the one thing we have is family. And I'm thankful for that."