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Residents return to see the destruction

November 17, 2008 | 11:56 am


Some residents of the Oakridge Mobile Home Park, which was nearly flattened by fire, were allowed to return to their homes temporarily this morning to gather belongings and to view the damage.

Officials took four vans carrying about eight to 10 residents each back into the devastated mobile home park. Each resident carried a red plastic bag to fill with possessions -- mostly clothes, documents, IDs and medications.

One man in his 20s was choked up as he emerged with a bag from his house on Coyote Street, having borrowed a police flashlight to search for his belongings because the power was off.

"It's amazing," he said of his house. "It's a miracle."

His house was untouched. A basketball was laying in the yard and the landscaping was still green.

The vans drove past search dogs sniffing for remains at the 500 homes that were burned to the ground. About 400 to 500 people remain at the evacuation center at a nearby high school, and the Los Angeles Police Department was arranging to bring more residents into the trailer park this afternoon, said Mary Grady, a spokeswoman for the department.

Residents started registering for a seat on the vans at 9 last night at the high school, Grady said.

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Carl Cortez of Lake Arrowhead looks over the wall enclosing Oakridge Mobile Home Park on Monday morning. His mother's and his sister's mobile homes were destroyed when fire swept through the Sylmar mobile home park. Photo credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times