Photo: KHTS/Jessica Boyer
In response to the impact of the Powerhouse Fire, Fifth District county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich hosted a recovery workshop Tuesday for victims.
“The idea was to set up a one-stop shop to get questions answered,” said Anthony Akins, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector.
The workshop was held at Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union Elementary School.
Jeanne O’Donnell, program manager at the Office of Emergency Management, helped coordinate the event.
“There’s a lot to know, and there’s a lot going on,” O’Donnell said. “We’re just trying to bring everybody in the room because the challenge is getting the local community to coordinate.”
The event banded together those affected by the fire. Green Valley residents, Dahlia Grossman and Peggy deHaas, compiled a list of people in attendance. They estimated there were approximately 60 families present.
“The whole thing is just a beautifully coordinated effort,” Elizabeth Lake resident, Ellen Goodchild said.
Residents of the affected area recalled their experiences from the week before. Many were evacuated on short notice.
“It was scary: being told we had to leave, and not knowing what to take,” Lake Hughes resident Shellie Rericha said.
Nearly 20 different government and nonprofit organizations attended the workshop. The four largest nonprofits present were The American Red Cross, the Tzu-Chi Foundation, the Salvation Army and the California Southern Baptist Relief.
“We’re here to provide emergency assistance, and connect folks who have lost homes or lost property and help them take the next step,” Jeff Baumgartner, executive director of the Antelope Valley Chapter of the Red Cross, said.
The Salvation Army was accepting donations to provide gift certificates and vouchers that would help re-establish homes. The vouchers can be used at stores to supply the victims with clothes, housing supplies and other items, according to Salvation Army emergency disaster services director, Charles Gillies.
The fire damaged power-lines and left some residents without communications. Verizon estimates there were possibly 300 customers without landline service, according to senior manager of media relations Jarryd Gonzales.
Southern California Edison representatives reported replacing 137 poles, 14 transformers and 22 incidents of wires down.
– David Mariuz