LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Call it a cruel twist of fate or a statistical anomaly, but one family who was brought together by marriage has now been connected by a tragedy caused by the Woolsey Fire.
The family experienced the unthinkable Nov. 9, when Mark Bakalor’s parents and in-laws both lost their homes in the Woolsey Fire raging in two separate cities: Bell Canyon and Agoura Hills.
“It was almost more surreal, more ‘How could this be happening?’ as opposed to ‘What is happening?’” Bakalor said.
On Thursday, Bakalor, his wife and children evacuated their home in Oak Park. Less then 24 hours later, the winds shifted and Mark’s parents in Agoura Hills were in danger.
He pleaded with them to leave their custom, 11,000-square foot home.
Hours later, his mom called with the news.
“She said, ‘It’s gone,’ and I knew what she was talking about, but I said, ‘What do you mean?’ She said, ‘The house is gone,’” Bakalor said.
The Woolsey Fire turned their dream home into a pile of rubble.
“It’s not just the home. It’s a lifetime of possessions and things that we had that are now gone.”
Just a few hours after Bakalor’s parents lost their home, he was sitting with his father-in-law at his sister-in-law’s house while watching news coverage when he saw the fire turn toward Bell Canyon, where his in-laws lived.
“We saw a swimming pool and shapes that looked familiar and flames, and not long after that, their house was also on fire and was burning,” Bakalor said.
Mike Garson is a professional pianist, who played with legendary singer, songwriter and actor David Bowie for decades. He and his wife left their home Nov. 9, when it was only under voluntary evacuation and didn’t expect to be out long.
“I lost all my pianos, my whole studio, and a lot of music that was on hard drives that I didn’t take that weren’t saved on the Cloud. That’s what’s killing me,” he said.
If there was one silver lining to their loss, it’s that they are now all in this together. Two families now brought together by the catastrophic Woolsey Fire.
Bakalor’s parents home was on the market for $5 million. One of the selling points was the beautiful canyon views. The family hasn’t decided yet if they will rebuild.