Residents Who Lost Homes In San Diego County’s West Fire Sift Through The Ashes
Monday, July 9, 2018
Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS
As of Monday, firefighters were still working to put out hot spots from the West Fire in Alpine. The wildfire started on Friday and destroyed at least 34 homes.
One of the victims, Lisa Ford, cannot believe she lost her home in the fire.
"They had it all caution-taped off," Ford said. "But I didn’t care — I just wanted to go in there and try to find something that was grandmother's or my dad's. And I was able to find a couple of glass trinkets."
Ford lives at the Alpine Oaks Estates. The mobile homes there were one of the first areas hit by the West Fire.
"I heard the neighbors all like, 'Come on, let’s go, let’s go!'" Ford said. "So I just grabbed a few items. Not even clothes or anything. I just figured, well the fire is not going to jump all the way over here and get me."
Ford was able to get out, but her mobile home was destroyed. She said one of her daughters saw the home burning from news reports.
"She’s like 'Mom, it’s all gone,'" Ford said. "And I go, 'no, no it’s not all gone.' And she goes, 'No, I’ve got the picture right here — I’m going to send it to you.' It was my mobile home up in flames. My knees just buckled, I was just in utter shock. I couldn’t believe how the fire moved so rapidly."
Desperate to find valuables, two days after the fire Ford had already started digging through what’s left of her home.
"At this point, it’s just a pile of rubble with ashes and stuff," Ford said. "It’s been just utterly devastating really. And to go there now and just see what I’ve worked so hard to have, it’s just gone."
Ford said she was only able to grab some jewelry and cash before evacuating. For the last few days, she has been staying with family and friends while she figures out her next move.
"I really don’t know what my options are going to be," Ford said. "I know that whatever my future holds, I don’t want to be away from my grandkids."
At an assistance center at the Alpine Library on Monday, Ford got some spending money from the American Red Cross. FEMA was not there, but Ford plans to see if she’s eligible for federal aid. In the meantime, Ford's family is collecting donations on her behalf.
The wildfire in Alpine on Friday destroyed 34 homes and scorched at least 505 acres, leaving a number of people without a place to live.
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