SOULSBYVILLE -- Penny Novak-Disbrow plans a visit this morning to the site of a vacation home that all but vanished in a wildfire.
She is the daughter of a Santa Cruz County couple that built the place in the early 1980s and enjoyed many visits in the years that followed.
"Everything is gone," she said by phone Thursday from Soquel, near the coast. "Those memories are gone, but thank God, there was no life taken."
She said the Mountain Side Drive house contained many treasured belongings of her parents, Hickman native Cecilia Novak and the late Henry Novak.
It was one of two houses destroyed Tuesday evening by the 30-acre fire, which was expected to be contained by Thursday evening, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported.
The other house, a few hundred feet away on Mount Hope Lane, was owned by Bethany McBeth and occupied by her mother, Gale Fitzgerald. McBeth said Wednesday that her mother is staying with another family member.
Cause of blaze not yet known
The fire's cause is not yet known, Cal Fire spokeswoman Lisa Williams said Thursday.
No one was injured in the blaze, which was fairly small in acreage for a Tuolumne County wildfire but hit these two homes with exceptional force.
Novak-Disbrow said she planned to meet at the site with an insurance adjuster today. The house was part of the Monte Grande Heights subdivision, about five miles east of Sonora.
All that remains of the structure is the chimney. The flames singed the tractors and tools that Henry Novak had kept on the property. Somewhere in the ruins lies the china once owned by Novak-Disbrow's great-grandmother, as well as Oriental rugs, heirloom furniture and other possessions.
The Novaks had hired a builder to frame the house, but Henry Novak wired and plumbed it.
"We worked our tails off," said Cecilia Novak, 93. "Everything was first-class."
The family visited the vacation home about once a month, Novak-Disbrow said. Her mother said the location in the Sierra Nevada foothills was ideal for day trips to places such as Pinecrest Lake and Dodge Ridge.
As for rebuilding, she is undecided.
"We'll see what comes of everything after it's all settled," she said.
Modesto Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2385.