Fire Destroys Sylmar Mobile Home Park

Sylmar, CA, USA The inferno destroyed 484 homes at the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar. Firefighters were able to save about 120 homes, but many were badly damaged.

Packed into busses and vans, residents of Oakridge Mobile Home Park viewed plots piled with ashes. It was their return to what used to be home.

"There were no refrigerators standing, you know you've got this big box, that's tall they're just melted, the heat was that intense," said resident Jodene Finch.

The fire that blasted through claimed 482-homes. It happened so quickly there was warning time to gather belongings.

"It's going to be very difficult, I want to go in and see if I can find a photo or something from my son, something, but we can't do that today, but we will," said resident Debra Barnard.

"My own personal home, I lost everything," said Betty Zalud. Yet 200 homes survived.

Deborah Middleton was almost one of the lucky ones. She found half a house and her grandmother's brass candlesticks. "You either want to laugh, because you're happy you have something, or you want to cry because you're neighbors have lost everything of value."

Amid all of this, there were outpourings of gratitude. A search by cadaver dogs found no recent human remains, only an urn where a woman had kept the cremated ashes of her husband. For all they have lost, residents are also emotional about what people are giving back. Sylmar High School students plan a fundraiser.

"It's heartwarming, and it is beautiful, so, that's where we are, people care a lot," said Finch.


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