SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Michelle Trammell is among the lucky ones. Her mobile home was not destroyed when the Tubbs wildfire roared through her neighborhood last month.
But she still can’t return home. Officials fear the debris from the mobile homes that were destroyed in the firestorm contain toxic substances like asbestos.
“This is our community,” Trammell said with emotions laced among her words. “It’s really emotional for me to see it like this.”
The Journey’s End Mobile Home Park was once a senior citizens’ community with about 180 homes. But early the morning of Oct. 9, flames ripped through the neighborhood, destroying all but 20 homes.
Trammell’s was among those that survived.
“Our homes are still standing,” she said Sunday. “What’s going to happen to our homes? Are we going to be able to go home?”
The residents were allowed to visit the neighborhood on Friday, but then were quickly asked to leave by enforcement officers.
“Everybody’s in here trying to load their stuff up and right in the middle of it, we were told they were no longer allowed and the EPA shut us down and they’re condemning it,” she said.
EPA test results came back late Thursday showing dangerous levels of asbestos in the park.
“Right now the number one priority is their safety and their health, so we don’t want to put them at any risk with what they could be put at based on the asbestos levels around there, so that’s why we made that decision for their benefit,” said Paul Lowenthal, Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal.
At a Sunday meeting, EPA 0fficials told neighbors about the next steps.
“The EPAs mission is to get in there, get it cleaned up and allow people to get back to the recovery process,” the residents were told.
Officials will be back at the park this week and the evacuated residents hope they will get good news soon.
“I just want to go home,” Trammell said. “My mom just wants to go home. Our animals just want to go home.”