Recovery effort for victims of San Diego wildfires
As Red Cross case workers arrive at a meeting room at Alga Norte Community Park in Carlsbad to set up a help center, 75-year-old Kay Yamashiro is among the first to greet them. The team includes a mental health counselor, someone who could certainly provide an ear to a woman who lost everything when the Cocos Fire roared through Harmony Grove.
“A place to stay, have my property cleaned up, help. My fire insurance was taken away early in my living there.”
The Harmony Grove Spiritualists Association – which lost 25 of 29 homes – has a neighbor, Yamashiro, who also lost her home to the fires. She had lived there since the late 80’s; she lost her husband on the property in 2006, when a tree he was cutting down suddenly split. Now, she is homeless and, to compound the tragedy, she has no insurance. After one of the fires that have plagued the area over the years, she says her insurance company moved out of state and she couldn’t get anyone else to insure her due to lack of a fire hydrant nearby.
Kay had previously talked to the Red Cross about assistance. She was at the community park to pick up a credit card so she could move into a motel. Her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter were sharing her home. Yamashiro hopes they can temporarily locate to the motel as well. She’s also trying to find a home for her rotweiler dog because of the close confines of the motel.
Will she return to Harmony Grove? Can she return financially? Too much emotion right now, she says, to even think about it.