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Alpine Center Assisting Fire Victims

Flames from the West Fire burn a house near Alpine, CA, July 6, 2018.
Matt Hoffman
Flames from the West Fire burn a house near Alpine, CA, July 6, 2018.
Alpine Center Assisting Fire Victims
Alpine Center Assisting Fire Victims GUEST: Jessica Northrup, group communications officer, San Diego County

Our top story on Midday edition. The destruction caused by the West fire in Alpine is now the new reality for people affected by the blaze. Forty nine homes were destroyed or damaged as the fire raced through the community on Friday. The fire scorched more than 500 acres. And fire officials say it's now more than 90 percent contained. A local assistance center is opening today in the Alpine library. There residents will have access to officials who can help with shelter recovery and clean up. Joining me now is Jessica Northrup a group communications officer for San Diego County. And Jessica welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. Now have people been coming in this morning. Yes we have had a steady flow of people who have been impacted by the West and building fires coming to the center to ask her questions and get the services that they need and the building fire that was the one in Zuhra. Is that right. Correct. What's the scene there in the Alpine library. How was this arranged. So we have one of the conference rooms. In the library that we have set up sort of a U shape of tables and how it works is when someone comes in. They start at one end which is the planning and development services from San Diego County department and they can ask their questions about rebuilding and permitting and that sort of thing so that they can figure out what to do with their property and then they go down the line. So they'll talk to some other county departments such as environmental health from the Air Pollution Control District. There is some volunteer organizations here that help with the disaster effort the disaster cleanup effort and then we have Salvation Army and Red Cross that are going to make sure that people the immediate needs of people are being met such as shelter and food and see what they can do to help in that regard. And then they go on down to get a few more services there's a any here. There's an insurance representative here as well as a group here to address consumer protection. If you're dealing with contractors and such and also the DMV that can help people get their records that they may have lost in the fire. Jessica what would you say the mood is like among the people that you've seen in Alpine today. Surprisingly very upbeat and positive. It's very calm. There's a lot of people in the room it's very crowded but people are calm. And I think appreciative of the services that are being provided. There's also a group here that brought in some dogs to help just calm people so they can pet them and that's that's been a big hit amongst the people who are attending today. But but it's been it's been great it's been good to see everybody come in and get their services and people are being upbeat and there are survivors. Have you heard any personal stories from people who have been affected by the fire. No the focus for me today has really been. Just making sure that people know where to go and where to start. In the line of things to get the services that they need. Tell us more about the assistance center. Where is it and when is it open. So it is located the local assistance center is located at the Alpine Branch Library in Alpine on Alpine boulevard. It is open 9 to 6:00 p.m. today. It will also be open tomorrow and then after that we will assess how many people have come and determine how much longer the center needs to be open once it does close. There will be information left at the library for people if they didn't get there a chance to come in and they can get a packet of information. We also have a Web site Estey county recovery dot com where people can go to find a number of resources phone numbers et cetera to help them in the recovery process. And we have a hotline at 8 5 8 4 9 5 5 2 0 0 0 that has a staff member answering phone calls from 8 to 5 7 days a week and people can get their questions answered through there as well. You know I know that a lot of people who are listening to this might want to reach out and try to help people affected by the Alpine west fire. Is there any way they can do that. The best thing to do would be to contact organizations that you trust to make donations and figure out the best way to help. I've been speaking with Jessica Northrop's San Diego County Communications Officer. And Jessica thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

After any major disaster, survivors can find recovery extremely difficult. In addition to basics like food, clothing and shelter, crucial documents may be missing: driver licenses, insurance papers, birth certificates.

San Diego County has set up a local assistance center in the Alpine Library, 1752 Alpine Blvd., a one-stop shop with help for those who need it.

RELATED: 57 Buildings Destroyed In Alpine Fire That Burned 505 Acres


Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., until further notice, the center offers help from several agencies and volunteers:



Environmental health



Red Cross

The Salvation Army

Other volunteer organizations

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.