Crown King residents return, face cleanup - CBS 5 - KPHO

Crown King residents return, face cleanup

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Firefighters are making good progress on the Gladiator Fire.  It is now 40% contained.

After almost two weeks of anxious waiting, full-time residents of Crown King were allowed to go back to their homes Friday.

Residents said even on their drive into town they could see how close the Gladiator fire had got to their community.

However, the ash and burnt earth was not enough to dampen their spirits as they finally saw their homes.

"It was like being able to breathe again. It was kind of like you were holding your breath the whole time, and you could take a real full breath," said Becky Tucker, a Crown King resident.

Around the community, fire crews were still set up, making sure fire lines were holding even through the gusty winds.

Tucker said seeing her home still standing was priceless. However, while it was untouched by flames, it did suffer the effects of not having any power.

"We had a pretty stinky refrigerator. We have a refrigerator upstairs and downstairs, and the minute we opened the door it smelled. So we cleaned them out right away," said Tucker.

Residents are hoping a lot of the cleanup will be completed by Monday. Crown King is a popular place for people to visit on Memorial Day, so residents want to be ready when guests arrive. To make that happen, the community is pulling together in true Crown King style.

"Immediately everyone in the community was going up to others and saying, 'I have a truck if you need a truck, if you need this and if you need that.' So you know they thought about what they needed to do, and then the very next thought was helping their neighbor," said Tucker.

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