Building Committee Chair Marco Cecala said work on foundations for two homes will begin next week, with construction on those homes to begin the week of Sept. 30. Construction on three additional homes will begin soon after.
The guiding principle will be like for like, based on Yavapai County tax records. Manufactured homes will be replaced with manufactured homes. Stick-built homes will be replaced with stick-built homes with approximately the same footprint and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The exception will be that a two-bedroom, one-bath home will be replaced with a two-bedroom, one and 3/4 bath home.
Four of the destroyed homes were manufactured homes. Of the 11 uninsured primary homeowners, the reconstruction of six homes has been approved by the YHRG Steering Committee. Five others have just recently been vetted by the state Department of Emergency Management to the Steering Committee for action.
All five of the initial homes will be stick built, using volunteer labor from Mennonite Disaster Services, Habitat for Humanity, different church organizations and a host of individuals who have said they’d like to come up and help, Cecala said.
For the stick-built homes, four home plans ranging from 938 square feet to 1,600 square feet from Mennonite Disaster Services were modified to comply with local building codes and construction practices. The truss houses were designed with no load bearing interior walls so the interiors can easily be modified to suit the needs of the homeowners.
“I’m trying to give people a chance to make a rectangle look like their home,” Cecala said. “And if I can do something to make people feel like they’re getting a home instead of house, we’ve done our job.”
When homes are completed, homeowners will receive donated household goods assembled by the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group’s Donations Committee, including small appliances, such as microwaves and crock pots, a good set of dishes, matching silverware and glasses in quantities appropriate for the size of the household.
“It’s all really nice stuff,” said Donations Chair Kaye Huckleberry.
While this milestone marks real progress, the community still has a long way to go.
“We’ve estimated our community’s total need at about $6 million,” said YHRG Steering Committee Chair Chuck Tidey. “That includes meeting the needs of the uninsured, the underinsured, the Yarnell Fire Department, the Peeples Valley Fire Department, the Yarnell Water Improvement Association and the Shrine of Saint Joseph, a local landmark.”
To date, about $1.5 million has been donated to benefit the residents of Yarnell, including money donated to the United Way and the Yavapai County Community Foundation earmarked for the unincorporated community.
So far, the Arizona Division of Emergency Management has identified 11 uninsured primary homeowners, 21 underinsured primary homeowners, four underinsured secondary homeowners and six renters. Only one of the six renters had insurance, but was underinsured.
About Yarnell Hill Recovery Group
Exiled from their homes and divided by the closure of Highway 89, a group of 20 Yarnell and Peeples Valley residents conferred in person and by phone about how to rebuild their fire-ravaged community.
Out of that conversation, the all-volunteer Yarnell Hill Recovery Group was formed with a steering committee made up of five key leaders representing organizations that have long provided services to residents: the Yarnell-Peeples Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Yarnell Community Center, the Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church, the Fire Department and Weaver Mountains – People Who Care.
Under the direction of the steering committee, a dozen volunteer sub-committees have been formed to provide resources for everything from emergency housing and financial assistance to clean up and rebuilding. The group’s website, www.YarnellHillRecoveryGroup.
The group was recently recognized by Arizona and Yavapai County as the official recovery group for the Yarnell Hill Fire.
The Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church, acting as the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group’s fiscal agent, has set up an account for the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group though the National Bank of Arizona, account #76 0000 2730, Routing #122105320. There is a Pay Pal button for donations atwww.YarnellHillRecoveryGroup.