The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Families still affected by Marek Fire

It has been two days since the Marek Fire caused Gina Kirby and her family to evacuate their home and Kirby says she still has her belongings in the car.

‘We were evacuated twice once at four in the morning and again at 10 at night,’ Kirby said.

Kirby said she recalls Monday morning that she had about 30 minutes to grab whatever she could and leave.

‘I am pretty much organized to begin with, so the only things I grabbed in bulk were all my grandchildren’s things and then we were out,’ Kirby said.

Kirby, the manager of the Italian restaurant, Caruso’s, located between Foothill Boulevard and Hubbard Street in Sylmar, said she brought her family to the restaurant where they stayed for six hours before returning back to her home.

A lot of folks like Kirby were displaced as the unexpected Marek Fire broke out Sunday, causing many families to evacuate to local schools or churches like Sylmar High School.

Sylmar High School’s night manager, who refused to give his name, said he remembers when they received a call that they were going to house evacuees.

‘We had people start coming in Monday,’ he said. ‘They gathered in the auditorium and then when we found out we were going to house them over night that same day I called local plumbers in the area to come out and inspect our showers to make sure we had cold and hot water for people.’

The unidentified employee said local business in the area donated food and drinks for the evacuees. He recalls Sam’s Club located on Maclay Street and Foothill Boulevard, the Coca Cola Co. and Time Warner that brought cable lines so the residents could stay updated on the fire.

He said the Red Cross provided cots, blankets and food for the evacuees.

‘Everyone was in good spirits,’ he said. ‘They were calm and going with the flow, police were present and there was always a representative from the fire department also.’

Others evacuated to San Fernando High School Monday night, where Principal Kenny Lee said the high school provided shelter to evacuees Monday and Tuesday.

‘We had about 100 evacuees in our gymnasium stay Monday night,’ Lee said. ‘On Tuesday we had about half stay.’

Lee said the Red Cross really took charge, and about 24 staff members of San Fernando High School provided help as well.

‘Some were really distraught because they lost their homes,’ Lee said.

Resident George Soto, who lives at 12806 Lovre Street in Pacoima near Lake View Terrace, said he was told by fire officials to seal his windows and be prepared to evacuate if need be.

‘We could not get out of our house,’ Soto said. ‘We heard about three or four explosions, and then when were able to come out of our house it was a huge mess with ash everywhere.’

A local resident, Tony Majchrcak said his mother-in-law lived in one of the mobile homes that got destroyed in Lopez Canyon.

‘She didn’t even have insurance, she couldn’t afford it,’ Majchrcak said. ‘We don’t even know where she is going to live now.’

The Marek Fire, which started in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest was 80 percent contained this morning and all evacuations were lifted, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

Full containment of the 4,824-acre blaze is expected Thursday. For Kirby, the aftermath has left her tired and uneasy.

‘I feel anxious and exhausted and I haven’t even done anything,’ Kirby said.

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