Update on Oakridge Mobile Home Park after last year's wildfires

Alex Cohen talks to KPCC's Frank Stoltze as he revisits the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar affected by last year's wildfires.

Alex Cohen: Last year, a wildfire destroyed hundreds of homes in the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar. Recently, a number of residents got a chance to return to those mobile homes and take a peek. KPCC's Frank Stoltze is in Sylmar, and he joins us now. And Frank, what does it look like out there?

Frank Stoltze: Well, of course, the Oakridge Mobile Home Park, one of the huge fire stories, really, in Los Angeles history. Nearly 500 mobile homes burning last November, more homes than at any other time in the history in one fire.

And there, today, the twisted debris, the twisted metal, is gone, they've cleaned it up. All you see, really, is just flat, bare concrete slabs, and then a few remaining homes that didn't burn, a little over a hundred.

And those are the homes that the city now says residents can move back into. They had delayed their moving back in because of this toxic debris that was in amongst all of the homes that had burned down.

Cohen: And Frank, have you had a chance to speak with any of the owners of the mobile homes who were able to go back into them?

Stoltze: I have one woman who spoke at a news conference this afternoon. Said, of course, she's overjoyed to be able to move back in. Another woman took me inside her living room and showed me something like a half-inch layer of soot that covered everything inside.

So, people are gonna have to put in new carpet, new flooring, new furniture, practically new everything. Another man whose home burned down came and visited today, and he broke down. It was still too much to be in the park, the reminder of the loss of his home and all of his personal possessions inside of it.

Cohen: And, Frank, any sense for those folks who completely lost their homes when they might be able to start rebuilding again, and how long that process might take?

Stoltze: Well, of course, it's not quite a rebuilding when you have a mobile home. You buy the prefabricated house. And the sense is that they'll be able to start purchasing and moving those mobile homes back into their slots in June. And so the park is going to start being repopulated the next few weeks, and then later this summer by folks who are gonna be moving the brand new homes in.

Cohen: Thanks so much. That's KPCC's Frank Stoltze joining us from the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar.

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