12/26/2013 1:06:00 PM Home Sweet Home: Yarnell residents move back to town
By Tamara Sone Contributing Reporter
YARNELL - While most folks were frantically gathering last-minute holiday gifts and hitting the grocery stores for Christmas dinner ingredients, some residents in Yarnell were christening their new homes.
Nearly six months after the Yarnell Hill Fire ripped through town, destroying more than 100 structures, the community celebrated the completion of six homes with a Holiday Home Tour and Dedication ceremony on Friday.
The festivities kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Steve and Debi Keehner's new home. The Keehners were the first uninsured homeowners to break ground after the fire. After the ribbon cutting, attendees were given a map to tour other homes.
The Yarnell Hill Recovery Group, using donated funds and mostly volunteer labor, built five of the homes on the tour for uninsured homeowners. The homes include three site-built homes in various stages of construction, and two completed manufactured homes.
The recovery group committed to replacing nine homes for uninsured primary homeowners at no cost.
"We are very grateful for the donations of time and money that allowed us to replace these homes," Yarnell Hill Recovery Group chairman, Chuck Tidey, said. "There is still a lot to be done. This is just the first step in a long recovery that we anticipate will take two or three years."
The sixth home on the tour was the first site-built home to be completed for an insured homeowner.