Future uncertain for homeless individuals displaced by 7-acre Sepulveda Basin fire

VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The 7-acre brush fire that swept through the Sepulveda Basin Tuesday afternoon has focused the spotlight on the homeless encampment that was scorched.

The flames displaced about 100 individuals who were living there, including Steve Saad.

He lived in the encampment with this wife and cats and returned Wednesday to find all his belongings burned. Other people living in the area also lost everything, he added.

"Some of them might have problems, but they're all trying to help themselves and they were trying to get back to society," said Saad.

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Firefighters battled a large grass fire in the northern part of the Sepulveda Basin Tuesday afternoon.



Some had lived in the area for more than eight years, according to Eric Montoya, Outreach Supervisor for Los Angeles Family Housing.

"We don't know what the next step is for the individuals that were affected by the fire," said Montoya. "All we're trying to do is just keep them safe, keep them covered and out of the elements as much as possible, and keep them out of our emergency rooms."

Workers with the organization delivered tents, sleeping bags, food and water Wednesday to those who were displaced.

Montoya said they had been working in the area the last couple of months to get them temporary housing ahead of a planned clean-up that was scheduled to start August 5.

Los Angeles councilmember Nury Martinez confirmed in a statement that an extensive clean-up of the basin was in the works.

The statement says in part: "...we will continue our efforts to work with state and federal authorities for their approval to clean the rest of the basin, which is under their jurisdicition, as soon as possible."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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