‘Feel like my heart is just crumbled in pieces’: Malden family visits destroyed home for first time

MALDEN, Wash. — It was a devastating Wednesday afternoon for people in Malden as some families returned to town for the first time since wildfires destroyed 80% of its homes.

The Castillo’s were one of those families and walked us through the land their home used to stand on.

Their home, like most in Malden, was completely destroyed in Monday’s wildfire.

RELATED: ‘The entire town is gone’; Malden devastated by wildfires, most homes destroyed

“We’ve been working at starting our life anew and fresh then this happens,” Maria Castillo said.

We all take pride in the things we’ve built in life; that can be a home we saved up for, or even just the people around us we call family.

When disaster strikes, one of those becomes a priority.

“My husband messaged me saying when you see smoke, pack up, get the kids and get out,” Castillo said.

Castillo and her family only had about 20 minutes to get out of Malden as the fires ravaged the town Monday.

“I started seeing some black smoke,” Castillo said. “And I’m like we gotta go now.”

While the family escaped, they left their dog Coco behind.

“Feel like my heart is just crumbled in pieces,” Castillo said.

They returned Wednesday to search for him as they took in the damage done to the town they’ve called home for three years now.

They walked through piles of rubble which were made up of their belongings. Things like the kid’s bikes, the family’s kitchen and even their bathtub all burned into a pile of ash.

The family is getting some help from their church. They have a place to stay and enough food and clothes for the time being.

But this devastating fire serves as a reminder, disasters don’t just happen to someone else.

“Hey, this can happen to anybody,” Castillo said. “Don’t think it can’t.”

As the people of Malden comprehend what they’ve lost this week, they’re also realizing something much bigger remains. Something they’ve spent years building.

“Malden is still Malden strong all the way,” Castillo said. “We’re gonna get through this.”

The church in Malden has some resources inside for families who need it. Those families can find canned goods, produce and other resources inside the church.

RELATED: Here’s how you can donate to victims of Washington’s wildfires