It's been an intense nearly two weeks for the Valleyford community, after the Yale Road Fire destroyed 10 homes, leaving those families homeless. But Thursday night was a chance for folks to come together, thank the firefighters for their hard work, and be there for those affected by the fire.
A potluck barbecue was held at Freeman High School Thursday night for anyone who wanted to attend. Pat Terry was one of those people. She says she was at church on the Sunday the fire broke out. She drove home to see smoke off in the distance.
"We were guessing where was it at," Terry said. "We thought it might be in Liberty Lake or in Mica, but no, it was at my house."
The fire surrounded her home, but it remained standing. Unfortunately, it was a different story for her son. His home burned down and he lost everything. That's why Terry wanted to attend Thursday night's event, to show thanks for a community that has been nothing but supportive. That community also showing thanks to firefighters who stayed on the front lines.
"This is family," said James Smock of the Spokane Firefighters Union. "Whether you're directly related to us, or whether it's the place that we serve, that what the department is. We're intermingled into the community in every aspect."
But for firefighters, this wasn't just a chance to meet with an appreciative community, it was a chance to check up on them as well.
"This is the community we're involved with, so we're down here seeing what we can do to help them get back on their feet," Smock said.
And with such supportive neighbors, Terry says it's why she hasn't left in 40 years, and why her son can't wait to get back.
"He wants to move a mobile home right back where he was," she said.
It may seem crazy to want to move right back where a fire took away everything you owned, but members of this community say they understand.