PALMDALE (CBSLA) — A pile of rubble is all that is left of Mardelle Sakemiller’s home of more than 35 years.
“It’s all gone,” she said. “Everything is gone.”
On Saturday evening, Sakemiller was told by a sheriff’s deputy to evacuate immediately after the Bobcat Fire advanced toward her home on Murphy’s Lane in the Juniper Hills area.
“They just came and said, ‘We’re giving you notice,’ and it was like I had maybe 5-15 minutes to think, ‘What do I want to do,'” she said. “It was just like an out-of-body experience.”
Sakemiller said all she grabbed from her home as the flames bore down were pictures.
“Pictures of my mom, my brother and I when they were alive, my husband when he was alive,” she said. “It was on my mantle.”
The 76-year-old grandmother of 10 is now living in her RV in the parking lot of a Palmdale Lowe’s.
“I’ve lost everything except this, and my car and my life,” she said.
And making matters worse is that Sakemiller did not have insurance on the home. She said it lapsed at some point after her husband died years ago.
Her granddaughter has set up a GoFundMe page to help her recover financially, and her daughter Cindy was offering emotional support to her mom while also mourning the loss of her childhood home.
“It’s like a death,” Cindy Sakemiller said. “It’s probably the only thing that could happen to you short of losing her. It’s surreal to go, ‘There aren’t going to be any more Thanksgiving dinners there,’ there’s not going to be any of those moments, but we have our memories.”
Sakemiller said that while she no longer has her home, she has her faith and positive attitude.
“I’m looking so optimistically, and if you knew me, I lived in the upper desert and I always wanted to live by the water, and so that’s my choice,” she said. “Here we go. I can travel.”