Woolsey Fire: Damage tally increases as residents sift through debris of ravaged homes

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Woolsey Fire: Damage tally increases as residents examine debris
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Residents of the Woolsey Fire burn area are sifting through the debris of their flame-ravaged homes.

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- As residents return to what is left of their fire-ravaged homes, authorities have issued a new tally of damage from the Woolsey Fire.

The count of structures destroyed in the Woolsey Fire has increased to 1,643 as firefighters close in on full containment of the massive blaze.

The Tuesday update also says there have been 364 structures damaged and firefighters have achieved 98 percent containment. The previous count issued on Monday had 1,500 structures destroyed, 341 damaged and 96 percent containment.

The newest estimate was issued as authorities continue to survey the damage caused by the massive blaze, which consumed 96,949 acres.

At the same time, residents are returning to what was left of their homes and sifting through the debris to try to recover any personal items that survived the flames.

Relief organizations - including some volunteers who survived earlier fires themselves - are helping out with the efforts.

Upper Ojai Relief co-founders Justin Homze and Trevor Quirk developed a disaster relief model during the Thomas Fire and are helping the Woolsey Fire victims in the Seminole Springs mobile home park in Agoura Hills.

They fought fires around their homes and helped their neighbors as well. Through Facebook they generated enough donations to start a nonprofit that helps others.

They post needs on social media and people come through.

"They got me a laptop," said one man who survived the Woolsey Fire. "And it was real quick out of the generosity of someone's heart and pocket and their hard work."

Other local organizations have also brought out volunteers to help people sift through the ashes of their homes.

The Dream Center has partnered with Upper Ojai Relief to help people find their mementos.

"Our entire neighborhood burned down so we're trying to sift through and save anything we can before the rains come tomorrow," said homeowner Barbie Herron.

With the help of the volunteers, Herron said she was able to find and salvage a few sentimental items - things made by her children and some ceramics.

"They're amazing," said homeowner Carol Ornelas. "I just went up to him and said 'Is there anybody that can help us move the top of the house before somebody gets hurt?' There they are. Incredible - what you guys do."