Jean and Chuck Ortega of Vacaville lost their 2,800 square-foot home when the LNU Lightning Complex Fire roared through English Hills in August. They plan to rebuild their "dreamed-of retirement home" on the lot and are grateful to the support they've received from their neighbors both on the night of the fire and now. (Joel Rosenbaum -- The Reporter)

After August fire, Vaca couple resilient, grateful as they rebuild

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Chuck and Jean Ortega, who lost their rural Vacaville home during the August LNU Lightning Complex Fire that swept through parts of the North Bay, are greeting the coming new year with plans to rebuild and with a decidedly positive attitude that appears to have become a balm to their neighbors who also lost their homes.

The harrowing chapter in their lives began with a 1 a.m. phone call on Aug. 19, and the Ortegas heard a neighbor warn them that fire had jumped Lake Berryessa “and was heading straight for them,” they recounted during a telephone interview earlier this month.

The news caught them completely by surprise. After all, when they went to bed, the fire was on the northwest side of Lake Berryessa, more than an hour away with 10 miles of lake between them and their Skyhawk Lane home off English Hills Road.

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