Owners of destroyed Yarnell home first to start rebuilding - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Owners of destroyed Yarnell home first to start rebuilding

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YARNELL, AZ (CBS5) -

Some Yarnell residents say they're an example of what it means to transition from the grief stage to being able to celebrate moving on.

"This is the very first groundbreaking for the first house to be rebuilt in Yarnell since the fire," explained Frances Lechner, spokeswoman for the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group. The organization held a groundbreaking ceremony and potluck to kick off the rebuilding effort.

Roy Pizzirusso owns the home that was the focus of the ceremony. He said his focus now is rebuilding his leveled home stronger.

"This is still home now that things are starting to be building again," he said.

He also wants to do the reconstruction better, which he says means learning from how devastating and intense the June 30 wildfire was.

"I don't think we'll go with metal siding because it really didn't do anything," Pizzirusso said. "It's going to be better insulated."

But not all the displaced residents may be able to afford better. Many of them didn't have insurance.

"Some of the houses were uninsurable because they were so old and in such sad shape," Lechner explained.

She said her organization has made the uninsured a primary focus.

"Our mission is to identify unmet needs off all kinds of residents and then identify ways to meet those needs," Lechner added.

The group, she said, has so far collected $450,000 in donations. Those funds will be used to help displaced residents get back into a home.

"If what they had was a mobile home, then what we're going to be providing is another mobile home," Lechner said. "We're looking at models from other recoveries so we don't reinvent the wheel for trying to figure that out."

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