Following Blue Cut Fire, Some Families Find Themselves Living In Tents, Or Worse

PHELAN (CBSLA.com)   —  Many of the people who lost their homes in the Blue Cut Fire are now living in tents.

Many don’t have the money for alternative housing. Many said they couldn’t afford homeowner’s insurance.

So following the devastating fire, they’re doing everything they can to put a roof over their heads.Many are living in tents — without light or electricity or running water.

KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii spoke to several people in Phelan about how they are coping.

Firefighters work to control hot spots as a helicopter drops water in Keenbrook, California on August 18, 2016. The Blue Cut Fire charred more than 37,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes. (credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Firefighters work to control hot spots as a helicopter drops water in Keenbrook, California on August 18, 2016.
The Blue Cut Fire charred more than 37,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes. (credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Emily and Shaun are living in an abandoned home — there is one light, nine people.

They didn’t want to give their last name. But they explained how hard life has become. They have a newborn and a 2-year-old with autism.

“We need almost everything to replace what was there and to start everything over,” said Emily.

They have no electricity or running water in the abandoned home.

“There’s no wiring in the walls, there is no solar panels left. There’s no batteries left. There is nothing,” said Emily.

This couple is one of many who didn’t have homeowner’s insurance. For the past two weeks, they’ve turned to Mea Ola’s Place, an animal rescue that’s now become a human rescue, as well.

Here, they pick up donated clothes, food and home goods.

Founder Ann Kline says they’ve helped nearly 30 families — most had no insurance, most have no money to rebuild.

“To get their solar back, to get their water back,” says Kline, “it’s changed my life, to see the needs that are out there.”

The 58-square mile fire destroyed 100 homes. But families said it destroyed livelihoods, too.

The fire burned all of Shaun’s equipment for his contracting business. He is thankful none of his family was hurt.

“We’re still here,” said Shaun, “we’re all together.”

Victims of the fire say the county and Red Cross have helped. But to someone who’s lost everything it’s just not enough.

Donations continue to come in to Mea Ola’s but organizers say more help will be needed.

In the meantime, this family is trying to put on a happy face.

“You gotta be strong for your kids,” said Emily. “And you gotta lead by example, you know. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Mea Ola’s Place, church leaders and volunteers have set up a GoFundMe account to help the victims of the fire. At this writing, they have raised $75 of a $10,000 goal. Click here for more information.

 

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