When Mark Huettinger called his fax machine and it answered on Tuesday he figured his Rancho Bernardo home would be OK.
"Then my brother said you might come back to a chimney and a fax machine," he said.
That was not the case. Around noon on Wednesday, Mark and his wife, Frances, saw their two-story cream-colored stucco home on Abra Place was still standing.
Some ash seeped in through the door and the spa was dirty but everything else seemed fine.
"Wonderful, absolutely wonderful, it looked like nothing ever happened," he said. Yet a half mile over the hill, several homes were lost.
The empty-nester couple left with their Bichon Frise named Halle Berry around 5 a.m. Monday to a friend's home in Solana Beach and by 8 p.m. they had to leave there after a voluntary evacuation was called. Thankfully, less than 24 hours later, he's back unloading computers from his Toyota Prius to restart his home business.
"We are so glad to be back," Huettinger said.
-- Jose Luis Jimenez