November 18, 2011 changed the lives of many who lived in Reno NV. As a fire roared through Caughlin Ranch and headed down towards Windy Hill, many homes were destroyed in its path. One house specifically belonged to a friend of mine. I have documented the lives of three individuals who lost their home to the Caughlin Fire. I have documented the story of Evan, Alex and Anthony.
I visited their house the day after it burned. Surrounding houses were damaged, but none as bad as theirs. One room survived the fire, barely. A piano sits against the wall with charred debris scattered around and on top of it. The piano looked as if it could function, but each key was melded together, and you could not press a single key down. A drum set with holes melted through the middle. Petrified drinks still set on the table, liquid hard as a rock. Eerie sadness lingers in the air of the house my friend grew up in.
My friend, Evan, is temporarily living with my roommates and myself. His belongings take up a small corner in my roommate’s room. I’ve asked him and a few of his former roommates to bring in what they have left from the fire. Alex only has burned pages from his music book, everything else gone. Anthony almost lost a guitar his friend painted for him, the base looks untouched, but the neck and the frets have burned and melted. As they evacuated the house, Evan took what he has left of his father’s belongings. Each roommate is moving on with their life, and not letting this event set them back.