MALDEN, Wash. - As the dust settles and panic begins to wear off, the devastation through the community of Malden remains. On Tuesday, Sept. 15, multiple organizations came to a community meeting to talk with neighbors and come up with a plan to get through this.
Dozens of residents attended the meeting, including Roxanne Hartman and her husband. She told KHQ's Hayley Guenthner that she woke up Labor Day with a sense of dread.
"I got this gut-wrenching feeling," she said.
The winds were howling, the vibe was eerie and Roxanne couldn't shake the thought that something bad was coming.
"I got outside the front door and the sun was red, flaming red," she said.
A fury of flames raced toward the town of Malden. She said they had mere moments to get out. She spent half of the 10 minutes they had running to warn others.
"We left with the clothes on our backs and dogs in our truck," she said.
The property where they had lived and loved for years faded away in their rear-view mirror. A view they would never get again.
"This was my home right here, it's gone," she said. "All of it."
Almost every single thing on their property had been reduced to nothing but ash, charred metal, and rubble.
"It's gut wrenching," she said. "It's gut wrenching. We worked so hard for this house, this little one-bedroom house."
In mere moments, it was all destroyed.
"I lost everything we had," she said. "Pictures, my mom's wedding dress. My parents are gone now. But you know, we are alive. My husband is alive and he's a cancer survivor."
The couple had recently fallen on hard times. Their insurance had lapsed. The flames swallowed so much of their life's work, but there's one thing they didn't take, and that's hope.
"I'm so thankful everyone got out alive," she said. "Everybody. No fatalities. That was the most important thing to me. Stuff can be replaced. But we can use all the help we can get."
Crews with United Way were one of the many organizations at Tuesday's meeting working to do exactly that. KHQ and Help Me Hayley have partnered up. More information on you can become involved can be found here.