Help California wildfire victims

Family displaced by Spring Valley fire speaks out

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SPRING VALLEY, Calif. – Two families were left homeless Friday after two houses caught fire in Spring Valley, Cal Fire said.

“We got out, that was it. It went up fast. It went up really fast,” Cheryl Spiegelberg said through tears. She lived in one of the homes that are now destroyed in the 1600 block of Tarleton Street near Blossom Road.

Along with her mother, sister and niece, Spiegelberg got out alive, but said it was hard to believe. She called it a miracle. At one point, she thought her mother was dead.

“I tried to go in there, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t make it past the front room. I had to come out and then I saw her come out I didn’t know if she was gone,” she said. “And I was just so happy to see her.”

Firefighters climbed onto the roof to cut vent holes after the flames spread from one house to the other. Cal Fire fought the blaze for about two hours before knocking it down around 2:30 a.m. Both homes were gutted, according to Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser.

Two residents were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. Those left homeless by the fire include a family with four small children.

The American Red Cross was able to provide the family with money for immediate needs, shelter, food and clothing. And the Salvation Army also arrived on scene to support the Red Cross and help the victims of the fire.

“If you imagine the call coming in at 12:55 in the morning, at that time it’s usually waking up whoever is on call and last night it was me,” Jason Adams from American Red Cross said.

He immediately started coordinating relief efforts for both families.

“The important thing that really stands out in my mind is there was an infant involved and they needed a crib so we were able to provide some assistance so they could get a crib,” Adams said.

Cal Fire and independent insurance adjusters confirm that both houses are a complete loss. Each house is valued at more than $250,000.

“We just watched our lives go up. This is all I have,” Spiegelberg said as she held up her phone.

“Everything is in there, gone. My sister is on a mantel…she had died a few years back and we lost her. We don’t have nothing,” she said.

Despite losing everything in the fire, Spiegelberg said she is just thankful her family is alive. The Red Cross said the other family expressed the same feeling -- they’re just thankful to have their lives and the help of others.

Spiegelberg said she couldn’t believe how helpful her neighbors were.

“I ran to the door to see if there was anybody inside. A lady grabbed me and told me everyone was out,” neighbor Jason Baltzley said.

“We were wondering if they were fine. We started offering them water, a place to sit to come in,” neighbor Angie Rios said.

Fire investigators and an independent insurance adjuster did not immediately release the cause of the fire.

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