Ellie Wildermuth's La Cañada Flintridge home went up in flames in October 2009, but on Sunday, it was the site of a party toasting those who came through for her family in difficult times.
“I decided all the people that were so helpful needed to see what they had done,” Wildermuth said.
The blaze struck on a Monday, Wildermuth said, as the Station fire was still burning up nearby hillsides. She and her husband, Bob, had been evacuated from their home near the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club and were visiting their grandchildren in Redondo Beach when a malfunctioning spa heater sent flames through the house, destroying nearly everything.
Wildermuth was stunned, but set about rebuilding.
“The closest time I came to crying was when I learned one of the fireman had burned his hand,” Wildermuth said. “You do what you have to do.”