She and her sister-in-law, Deana Newman, each had their homes threatened. Rita describes the tense moments, "The dozers came in just as it got up to my house, and they dozed the fire away from the house."
Each of them were grateful for the hard work of the fire departments, saying without them, they may not even have a house today. "I'm so thankful, to all of the firemen that were here yesterday.
Every department, and everyone that flew over," shares Rita.
While they rejoice that their homes were saved, a little bit of them is heartbroken, as well. That's because one of the only buildings to burn in the blaze, was the old Cedar Gap school. The place Deana's mom once attended. "Your heart hurts for them, too, because they do have memories and they do have a history in the building."
They say that it was hard to see it burn like that, "It's pretty heartbreaking," describes Deana, "because you do have to sit and it's just a helpless feeling that there's nothing that can be done."
Most of all, they admit that Tuscola has lost a landmark. "Some people are talking that we just lost a landmark," says Rita,"and it was a big landmark to a lot of people."