Lake Elsinore residents thank firefighters for saving their homes from Holy Fire

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (KABC) -- Saturday was an emotional day for Lake Elsinore families returning home after being evacuated for days because of the Holy Fire. They're thanking God and firefighters for protecting their homes.

Earlier this week, the flames were inching dangerously close to neighborhood houses. Homeowner Marc Strother stayed behind and shot shocking cellphone footage of the fire danger.

Now, Strother and many of his neighbors are returning home -- like Mary Parker, who was heard screaming with gratitude.

"Thanks be to God. What do you say? To him, to the firefighters. It's so emotional," she said while holding back tears. "You can't come back to this devastation and see all our homes still standing and not praise them, right?"

RELATED: Corona man watches remotely from security camera as his home nearly burns from Holy Fire
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Frank Grosso evacuated due to the Holy Fire, but he watched remotely from a security camera as the fire came dangerously close to his home.

In the days Eyewitness News has covered the Holy Fire, it's become clear residents have been protected and comforted by the men and women fighting the explosive blaze.

Now, the people who left hoping and praying everything would be OK are returning the comfort and affection they've received.

After some evacuations were lifted on Saturday, every resident Eyewitness News spoke with expressed their admiration for the firefighters putting it all on the line.

"Thank you to all the firefighters, they did a great job. We're OK, we're all safe, and thank you guys," one homeowner said.

It's just a glimpse into the fire fights taking place across California, with thousands risking their lives to protect life and property.

"They're normal people," Parker said. "They're great people with great souls and great families who let them go out every day and risk their lives, and we are forever grateful."

WATCH: Time-lapse footage shows Holy Fire's progression
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Thursday can be seen turning to Friday as the flames and smoke continue to engulf the land and sky near the Lake Elsinore-Corona line.

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