VENTURA COUNTY (CBSLA)  — More people affected by the Thomas Fire were allowed to go back home today — if they had a home to return to.

CBS2’s Joy Benedict said the residents stood on long lines and were escorted home with police escorts.

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Folks waited on line — for hours — for a glimpse of what’s left.

“I was resigned to losing my home,” said Jean Smiley. “So I cried when I found out it was there.”

Smiley waited almost two hours to see her Ventura home for the first time since being evacuated Monday.

She, like many people, came with empty suitcases to retrieve clothes and supplies.

“I’m going in for some personal things — like medicine, sunglasses, a hair dryer that works,” Smiley said.

Evacuees were allowed in for an hour but only if their home was still standing.

“As long as it’s not major damage which mine is — mine’s a total loss,” said Jeff Marcus.

His home burned to the ground so he was turned away.

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“I’m trying to get up there with my insurance adjuster so I can get the process started. So we can rebuild,” Marcus said.

Most of the neighbors were able to board the buses and vans that shuttled them home — but the view along the way was not pretty.

“Words don’t describe how you feel. Now you feel remorse for your neighbors. These are my friends, my really good friends and they’re gone,” said Rick Lane.

He came to grab clothes for his family. And although he’s pleased to see so many people working in his neighborhood to get the gas and power restored, he’s frustrated because he doesn’t know how many days he needs to pack for.

“I know they are working their butts off, I can see that,” Lane said, “but what’s their time frame? What’s the estimate?”

More than 700 structures burned in the fire and many are left confused. You see one house burned to the ground, the one next to it is fine and the house on the other side of it is also destroyed.

“The heartache is awful, and I feel so unworthy,” said Smiley.

As for Smiley, despite being against a hillside — her home had no damage at all. She just lost a few bushes and pool chairs.

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But as happy as she is — and so many are — to have homes to return to, for those who don’t many neighbors hope they rebuild knowing this community is still their home, even without houses to live in,