Little Samantha Amrhein wasn't due to come into the world until October. But her parents Kathi and Ron Amrhein can tell you things don't always go as planned.
The couple had planned to live in their Timberline home until their children were grown. On July 15, 2004, fire changed all that. Dr. Kathi Amrhein attributes Samantha's month-early arrival to the stress.
"We've accepted what happened," she said. "But I still find myself angry."
Angry at whomever didn't extinguish their campfire that sparked the largest fire in Carson City history. Angry at the owners of an empty lot next door who refused to clear brush despite repeated requests. Angry that their insurance wasn't enough to rebuild after the market skyrocketed just before the blaze.
The Amrheins considered selling the property, but realized they wouldn't get a good price for it, so they decided to rebuild.
Kathi said it's the same house with minor changes. After all, they liked that house.
Of course Samantha doesn't miss a thing. She didn't have to experience the event, but her big brother, Nathan, did.
The 3-year-old often asks for something, then is reminded it's gone.
"He's doing pretty well. We take him up to the old house and even at 3 he still remembers," Kathi said.
Former Carson City District Attorney Ted Stokes raised three children in the last house on the left in Kings Canyon. For 37 years, this was his spot.
Now, he lives in a rental, as crews clear the remains of his home to ready the property for a new house.
"It's impossible to remember all the things that were lost. There was probably a couple hundred thousand items, from the largest to the smallest," he said. "You cannot possibly remember them all."
When the fire swept down the mountain, the Stokes home was the first to go. At the time, his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren were staying there as well.
"This was a serious tragedy for our family, but it's not the end of the world," he said. "We're bouncing back and building another house even though we don't have any trees left. I guess if we look on the a positive side, we have a better view than we had before."
Larry and Claudia Goodnight's home sitting atop Timberline on Paradise View was likely one of the last houses to burn on the second day of the Waterfall fire.
"We evacuated a couple things so we didn't lose everything," Larry said.
The couple is staying in a rental home in Douglas County while their property is cleared for a rebuild.
"It took us about a year to decide to rebuild, but we like the view up there."
For six months after the Waterfall fire, businessman Bill Burnaugh slept on a friend's couch.
Although he owned several rental properties in Carson City, he said he wasn't about to put a tenant through what he'd just experienced - the loss of a home.
Tuesday, he was out at the site while crews cleared some of the hundreds of fallen trees that once circled his property.
"I planted all of these trees over a period of 27 years," he said. "I don't know if I'll rebuild but I'll definitely reforest."
At the beginning of the year he bought a small house in Northwest Carson City. Where it would take a day to work on his Kings Canyon landscaping, Burnaugh jokes about how little he has to do now.
"I only have two trees to trim, it takes like two minutes. Weeding takes five," he said.
After the rubble of his home was removed, Burnaugh had a pond in the yard made larger. The waterfall from Kings Canyon Creek still feeds the pond, but its no longer surrounded by trees and moss like before the fire. The fish, stocked at least three times a year, didn't survive either.
Burnaugh lost everything in the blaze, including thousands of dollars in antique guns supposedly untouchable in a fireproof safe in a fireproof room. But after a year of deliberation, he's quick when asked what he wishes he'd taken but didn't before the fire took the rest.
"My bird," he said of R2, the cockatoo. "I wish I'd taken my bird."
n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.