SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Federal inspectors lifted an asbestos warning for the wildfire-ravaged Journey’s End Mobile Home Park Wednesday, but the residents of about 20 undamaged homes will not be allowed to move back in until the utilities are restored, officials said.
The park was once a senior citizens’ community with about 180 homes, but early the morning of Oct. 9, flames ripped through the neighborhood. About 160 homes were reduced to rumble.
Residents had been allowed to return to collect their belongings from the destroyed homes and also to check on the homes that escaped the flames last Friday. However, hours later they were escorted out of the park after federal EPA inspectors warned of asbestos in the debris.
Among those forced to leave was Michelle Trammell, whose home fortunately was not destroyed.
“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.
Further testing and a cleanup operation was conducted over the last several days.
“The EPA contacted the SRFD (Santa Rosa Fire Department) and advised staff that the asbestos has been cleaned ahead of schedule and they have completed their sampling,” officials said in a press release. “The asbestos was isolated to an area where the communal laundry room was located which was destroyed in the fire.”
But officials were not yet ready to give a green light to Trammell and others to move back in.
“Although the restricted access to the mobile home park will be lifted by the City of Santa Rosa, the structures in the mobile home park will remain uninhabitable due to a lack of utilities,” officials said in the release.
That was not the news Trammell was hoping to hear.
“I just want to go home,” she emotionally told KPX 5 last weekend. “My mom just wants to go home. Our animals just want to go home.”