Aid center for Alpine fire victims opens at library

ALPINE, Calif. – A local assistance center opened in Alpine Monday to begin helping residents whose homes or property was damaged during the West Fire on Friday.

Representatives from county agencies and other aid organizations, including the Red Cross, set up the center at the Alpine Library at 1752 Alpine Blvd. The idea is to provide at one location with all the services fire victims need to begin their recovery.

Thirty-four homes were destroyed and 15 were damaged in the blaze. Many additional buildings, including garages, sheds and barns went up in flames as well.

The services offered at the assistance center include case management, crisis counseling and referral services, tax relief information and records replacement, short-term housing referrals, Calfresh/SNAP resources and information, information on residential rebuilding, and permitting and consumer fraud -- plus a mobile medical clinic.

“We’re lucky to have our wallets and phones. By the time I ran out of the house there was already smoke and flames," said Iziah Valle.

It’s been three days since the west fire tore through Alpine destroying and damaging homes. Valle’s home was one of them.

“It’s still kind of hard to take in. Yesterday we saw the house for the first time," said Valle.

The Valles are now at the Alpine library talking to people trying to figure out what their next steps should be.

“It’s very overwhelming for the people who are coming here today,” said County of San Diego Disaster Recovery Team spokesperson Jessica Northrup.

The County Of San Diego opened a local assistance center to assist victims of the fire. Multiple county departments and government agencies are here including nonprofit aid groups such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. The goal is to provide residents with all the help they need all in one place.

“We have planning and development services here today from the County of San Diego that can help people figure out, how do I get a permit to rebuild? What are the next steps that I need to consider? We have the Red Cross and the Salvation Army here making sure that they have somewhere to go right now and they have the food and the clothes they need. We have some volunteer organizations that help with the disaster aftermath, as well as the DMV so that if you lost your records and you need help retrieving those they can help you with that process,” said Northrup.

For Iziah and his family, knowing what to do has been difficult, so for now, just it’s one day and one step at a time.

"Knowing that we can do all of this here, it’s a big relief,” said Valle.

The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and also on Wednesday if needed.