IE veteran getting help restoring home destroyed by fire

Leticia Juarez Image
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
IE veteran getting help restoring home destroyed by fire
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A 70-year-old Navy veteran who lost his Rancho Cucamonga home to fire three years ago is getting help restoring it from Habitat for Humanity.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (KABC) -- It's been three years since Paul Pestle has been able to rest easy in his own home. In 2014, a fire ripped through the 70-year-old's house, gutting the inside.

"The dryer short-circuited and there was sleeping bags on top of the dryer trying to dry -- they caught fire," Pestle said. The home is now red-tagged.

Pestle, a Navy veteran, says he has lived in the home for 40 years and tried to find a way to make repairs.

"I have tried for over two years, trying to find loans and help and everything else. Thank God for the city," he said.

The city of Rancho Cucamonga stepped in and reached out to the Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity for help.

"When I came to inspect the home, I realized we can use our village, which is our volunteers, to come and help him out to rebuild his home," said Luis Jimenez, construction manager with Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Already volunteers have helped to clear out the home Pestle shares with his daughter, also a Navy veteran, and his 13-year-old grandson. Next, a contractor will come in to remove asbestos and lead before work begins in earnest.

"We are going to be stripping the house to the studs. We are going to do all new electrical, all new plumbing and a whole new kitchen," said Jimenez.

Pestle still visits his home daily to read the paper, feed his cats and keep trespassers out. At night, he sleeps in the garage of a relative. He is looking forward to going home for good.

"My bed. I really miss my bed. Have one cat on one side, another cat on the other side," Pestle said.

Once the renovation gets underway it will take three months to complete. If you are interested in helping out, you can contact the Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity at (909) 596-7098.