Sayre Fire victims celebrate town's revival

SYLMAR, Calif. Friday, residents were finally ready to put that tragedy behind them at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the town's new community center.

For many residents, the opening of the community center symbolizes that Oakridge Park is back. Nearly half of the 600 spaces have homes, and more are on the way.

It was November of 2008 when the wind-whipped /*Sayre Fire*/ roared through the Oakridge community and destroyed 488 homes. Those that were left standing were deemed uninhabitable due to the lack of utilities.

"It took a year and a half to get back in, and I'm so happy. I changed spots though. It was a little traumatic moving back onto the old spot, because we were only there for six months and it burned. So, we picked a new spot and new house," said Oakridge Park resident Barbara Felder.

"We kept coming over and looking at the park and thinking, 'Is it ever going to change?'" Oakridge Park resident Helen Tied said. "It's come around 100 percent. We love being back."

Some residents said that the rebuilding has been slow and frustrating, but other residents think that the rebuilt structures are better than what used to exist before the fire.

"As horrible as it was, it's wonderful. My house looks beautiful. And we have the gorgeous club house, and we're just thrilled to death to be all here together," said Kathy Malpede, another Oakridge Park resident.

Owners of the Oakridge Mobile Home Park said over the next two years, they're hoping to have 90 percent of the 600 spaces occupied with homes.

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