They just barely got away.
The Sekerkes—Amanda, Stanley and their four children—had been living in their hilltop home in San Marcos for three years. It was the house they hoped to buy.
The family escaped an hour before it was engulfed by the wildfires that have ravaged Southern California this week.
On Thursday, they returned to survey the rubble.
"Seeing it is really difficult,” Amanda told NBC News. “It makes you think of all the times together."
The Sekerkes’ home is one of three that have been destroyed in San Marcos, just north of San Diego. In nearby Carlsbad, four homes and an 18-condo complex have burned.
One person was killed near Carlsbad and a firefighter was injured battling a blaze at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps base in San Diego County.
By Friday, nine fires had burned across nearly 30 square miles, causing $10 million in damage.
"The grass out there is nothing but kindling,” said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore.
In San Marcos, the Sekerkes fled with little more than the clothes on their backs. They are staying in a hotel and relying on donations from friends and strangers.
With their fifth child due in September, they hope better times are ahead.
"We don't live in the past,” Stanley said. “We can't afford to."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.