Governor Newsom declares a state of emergency due to the flames, which cause hundreds of evacuations in the San Fernando Valley

Lying in cots and playing with cell phones and tablets, the 8-year-old Alan brothers, Hanna 5 and Darlene 3, were distracted in the shelter for people and their pets Sylmar Recreation Center, one of several places that the authorities arranged to house to victims of the voracious Saddledrige fire.

"For now they are not bored, because we have just taken them to a McDonald's," said Tania Acevedo, the mother of the little ones who live in the area of ​​Glenoaks Boulevard – almost at the end of the skirt of a mountain that had been burning since Dozens of families were evacuated Thursday night.

Tania, her husband and their three children had to sleep Thursday night inside their van and yesterday morning, they arrived at the shelter to get safe. At noon the place was full to its attention span for 63 people.

“It was about 11 p.m. Thursday when we decided to leave; Through the window I could see very large flares, ”said the woman from Mexico City and resident in the Oakridge Mobile Home Park area.

“The fire was very close; the children were sleeping and did not realize what was happening. ”

The family evacuated their home with only two changes of clothes for each. Until Friday afternoon they had no report of the conditions in which their home was.

"The children are not bored, rather they are resting because they could not sleep in their beds," said the mother, who then took her children to the Recreational Center park, since they did not go to school.

The Saddledrige fire has forced nearly 100,000 people to leave their homes, after consuming almost 7,500 acres of weeds in the Sylmar, Granada Hills and Porter Ranch regions. So far, it affects the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura.

The preliminary report of the authorities was that 31 structures were destroyed and at least 13 reduced to ashes. According to reports from the Fire Department, at 2:00 p.m. yesterday, the flames had been contained barely 13%.

On a continuous basis, during the morning and afternoon of Friday, numerous people sympathized with the victims of the fire and brought water, fruit, food, soups, bread and snacks to the Sylmar Recreation Center so that the displaced people are not lacking until they can go back home.

"I have always liked helping others and I thank God that I had the day off to bring some help," said Martina Garcia, a woman from Guatemala, who was accompanied by her daughter-in-law to bring water. "We are concerned about all these people who may have lost everything, but the most important thing is that they are still alive."

Guatemalan Martina García (i) and her daughter-in-law, Jennifer, donated water yesterday to the affected refugees at the Sylmar Recreation Center. / photo: Jorge Luis Macías.

On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in the region and announced that he obtained a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure the availability of resources for deal with fire

The Fire Management Assistance Grant will help local and state agencies that respond to the fire to request a refund of 75 percent of their eligible firefighting costs.

"We are closely monitoring the fires burning across the state and we are helping state and local officials who help tens of thousands of Californians affected by these fires," the governor said in a statement.

"California thanks the White House for its timely response to our request, which ensures that the communities that fight with this fire have the vital resources and support they need."

The Saddleridge fire threatens more than 13,000 residences in the San Fernando Valley, including the home of Barbara Collins, 80, who had to leave her home in Oakridge with her daughter Carrie, 49, who is prostrated In a wheelchair.

Fire extinguishers were divided into homes located in Sylmar, Porter Ranch and Granada HIlls. / photos: getty.

"We live not far from the mountain (Sombrero Canyon)," Barbara told La Opinión, while resting and taking two Aleve pills for the headache.

“Eight years ago my house was burned; I lost everything but the fire insurance paid me and only then could I buy another house. ”

Barbara commented that the tragedies in her life have not stopped in recent years, since in 2016 her daughter Donna died, due to cancer, and her husband Timothy. In 2019, his daughter Kimberly, who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease, also died. His fourth daughter lives in Oakland.

Brenda McHaney, a Mexican-American woman, her husband Patrick and their 12-year-old son Al, also took refuge at Sylmar Recreation Center, along with their three puppies: Oreo, Gonzo and Sandy.

The shelter's pets, Cesar Bañuelos and Luis Bendicho, Los Angeles Animal Services officers, were brought enough food for three days.

"Animals also deserve to have their own welfare," said Bañuelos.

The volunteers were given the task of collecting food.

Right there, Felicia Orozco and Renee González, from the Nona storage company of Mission Hills arrived with four bags full of toiletries, cookies and snacks.

"It's not much our help, but it's useless," Felicia said. “We only invested about 400 dollars”

The Saddledrige fire is being attacked by almost a thousand fire extinguishers in the county and the city of Los Angeles, Angeles National Forest.

"We have about 400 firefighters working 12-hour shifts," said Captain Kevin Davis of Station 91 of the Los Angeles City Fire Department in Sylmar.

Barbara Collins, 80, evacuated her home in Sylmar by the indendium along with her daughter Carrie, who suffers from a type of cerebral palsy. / photos: Jorge Luis Macías.

Some of the displaced residents who arrived at Sylmar's shelter also took their pets.

"My men are resting now, because the night was exhausting."

For his part, Congressman Tony Cárdenas, representative of the 29th District of California told La Opinión that his message to Latinos and residents of the San Fernando Valley is that “if the authorities ask you to evacuate, do not think twice because the winds from Santa Ana they are very erratic and nobody can predict in which direction the fires are going to move ”..


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