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Siblings share devastation of California fires

  • California
“We were evacuated from multiple homes, lost one home completely, and narrowly escaped losing our primary residence. It was quite a harrowing experience,” says ex-Capetonian Julian Maimin, who has been living in the United States since 1988.
by TALI FEINBERG | Nov 22, 2018

Maimin was speaking about his experience over the past week of being caught up in the California wildfires, described as the deadliest in the history of the US state.

“We actually witnessed our home being saved on CBS News, while it was being engulfed in flames. It was completely surreal to be watching our own home on the news with a sense of futile resignation that all was lost.”

His neighbour, who refused to evacuate, also sent footage to him of his home being saved.. The latest figures, released on Sunday by US officials, state that 150 000 acres of land have been scorched, almost a third of the size of Johannesburg, according to TimesLive.

Firefighters have managed to contain only 65% of the fires. The death toll, which has risen to 79, is expected to increase as firefighters continue to battle the flames. Rescue personnel are searching for nearly 1 000 people who have gone missing.

“Since we couldn’t go home to retrieve any of our valuables, all we had were the clothes on our backs,” says Maimin. “We’re fortunate that our home lost at Malibu Lake wasn’t our primary residence. We’re back at home in Calabasas now, and despite the loss, feel very blessed.”

His sister, Lauren Maimin Dromy, describes how her family’s holiday home in Malibu was saved. “The residents in our little community of Paradise Cove spent 10 hours personally fighting the flames until the fire department was able to come with fire equipment. Because of the brave men and women in our community, our bungalow was spared.”

She says it’s been two weeks since the fires, and the area still has no electricity. “The only way in and out of the cove is by boat, so food, water, household supplies, and dog food is being brought in on jet skis, paddle boards and small water craft which can get close to shore. I’m so thankful to our community for its commitment to do whatever it could to save the cove, and to our brave fire fighters, who are our heroes.

“We are now using the bungalow in the cove to help others who have been displaced – it’s the least we can do given the devastation of Malibu. Thank G-d our place was saved, others weren’t as lucky. We have friends who’ve lost everything, and yet they still find a way to help others.

“We are a strong community here in Los Angeles and Malibu, and we will figure this out and move forward, being just a little more grateful for our health, our family, our friends, and our community,” she says.

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