Norman Nielsen, 65, told CNN Thursday that he and his wife were sleeping when the mayor came knocking on his door to conduct forced evictions. The couple have lived in a mobile fairview park for the past 10 years and were quick to think about what to pack on the way to the shelter.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen,” Nielsen said. “(It’s) scary because… you never know when you might be next.”
She said firefighters were knocking on Christina Delmarque’s door in Hemet as well.
“I just grabbed my bag full of papers for like, the kids…because I brought four kids here with me, and I brought my mom here,” she said, adding that her husband stayed home to wet the house, so it was so not consumed by the flames.
Nelson and Delmark are just two of the presumed thousands in the Riverside County community who were subject to new eviction orders this week as the Fairview fire nearly quadrupled its reach from the day before.
Ken Rieger, the shelter’s supervisor, said a Red Cross shelter in Hemet opened on Monday for evacuees.
“We’re working 24/7… and we now have about 55 customers,” he said, adding that the county’s animal control takes people’s pets for free. “A lot of them don’t know if they have a home or not.”
Officials say the fire is “burning in all directions”
Cal Fire Brigade commander Josh Jansen said at the time that the fire was “burning in all directions and on all wings” on Wednesday morning.
Schools in the Hemeet Unified School District were closed due to the fire. It was not clear when it would reopen.
The circuit’s activity occurred “close to” the time of the fire, Southern California Edison reported in a statement Monday, but the company said it “does not acknowledge that its equipment caused the wildfires.”
This notification is intended to report the incident to the California Public Utilities Commission so the agency can conduct an investigation, according to another document filed in coordination with the report.
“The emergency declaration can help make the county eligible for potential federal and state assistance and reimbursement. In addition, the declaration allows the county to more easily purchase services and materials needed to respond to the emergency,” the county’s website said.
Two people were killed in the fast-moving flames that quickly swelled over the thirsty vegetation. The two people were members of the sergeant’s family. Brandy Swann said Wednesday.
“It looks as if the two victims who were found in the car were trying to escape from the fire,” Swan said, adding that the victims had not been identified.
She said a third woman, a relative of the two deceased, was found outside the car.
“She sustained some serious injuries and is recovering in hospital,” Swan said. “Always when there is a loss, we always feel it. It’s sad to think the fire moved so fast that they couldn’t leave.”
Nuran Saliha, Taylor Romain, Stella Chan, Rachel Ramirez and Dakin Andoni contributed to this report.