The goal is to help the victims of the Saddle Ridge fire; there will also be counselors and therapists for people who lost virtually everything

After the devastating fire on October 10 in Sylmar where 19 residences were lost and nearly a hundred were damaged, a help center with more than 30 local and state entities opened its doors on Thursday.

The Local Assistance Center (LAC) located at the Recreation Center in Sylmar, north of Los Angeles County, is already providing a range of resources and support for victims of the Saddle Ridge fire.

This incident ended the lives of two people, left home losses and affected small businesses.

However, after the tragedy comes recovery and this is where the help center is vital to the community, said Hellen Chavez, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management.

“There are people who do not know how to clean the ashes of their properties and the public health department offers several resources on how to do it,” said Chávez.

Because cleaning could be extremely expensive, depending on how much the property was affected, Chavez said there are non-profit organizations that are offering the cleaning service completely free of cost.

The Local Assistance Center is located in the Recreation Center of Sylmar. (Aurelia Ventura)

She added that there are also representatives from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for those who have lost their documentation or documentation of their vehicles in the fire.

"(Those affected) can come here and give them their documents instead of going to be making long lines in the offices," the spokeswoman said.

The Saddle Ridge fire in the north of the San Fernando Valley that broke out last October 10 has ended with more than 8,000 acres. The Los Angeles fire department indicated that by Thursday the fire was contained in approximately 56%.

Although there are still no specific results on the cause of the incident, researchers revealed that the fire began in an area 50 feet by 70 feet below a high-voltage transmission tower in Sylmar.

Mental health aid

Chavez explained that among the agencies are counselors and therapists offering their services to people who are devastated after losing everything.

"There are people who feel nervous, are very affected, and maybe they are not realizing that this can damage their mental health," Chavez said.

The office of Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, who represents Sylmar, was vital for the opening of the assistance center and bringing the aforementioned entities. In a statement the assembly said that since the beginning of the fire his office is doing everything possible to help residents.

"My team and I have been working to connect affected residents with resources to ensure that all needs are met," said the assemblyman.

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas opened the Local Assistance Center for fire victims Saddle Ridge (Aurelia Ventura)

She emphasized that this help center will become in the coming days a place where individuals, their loved ones and business owners affected by the fire will be able to receive information about services and all the necessary assistance.

Other participating agencies include the Department of Insurance, the State Tax Council, the State Licensing Contractors Board and the Red Cross.

Chavez said that this time there will be no federal government assistance (FEMA) because the fire was not considered a state of emergency.

"Although 19 structures were lost, it was not considered at such a large level," Chavez said.

She said the center will be operating until next Saturday, October 26, with hours Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. at 7 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. at 4 p.m.

To receive help, they do not need to have documentation in hand just to say that they were affected by the fire, Chavez said, adding that people without legal immigration status should not fear approaching since these agencies do not focus on legal status.

There will be interpreters from different languages ​​to help those in need.

The Local Help Center is located at the Sylmar Recreation Center, 13109 Borden Ave., Sylmar, CA 91342

For more information you can call 211 or the Rivas assembly office at (818) 504-3911.


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