By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton residents from five homes are still without a place to live after a huge pallet fire destroyed their cars and homes.

Donations have been pouring in and now a Stockton City Councilwoman is stepping in to help. And so is a former Stockton mayor.

Many people have made it a point to drive on Weber Street near downtown to see all the destruction left behind by that huge pallet fire.

“Everybody is driving by because they are curious to know. Some are stopping by to give the families that lost everything donations,” said Isela Robles, who lives in the neighborhood with parents.

People from around Stockton and as far away as Visalia have stopped by to give families bags of clothes, boxes of canned goods and even money to help this family survive another day.

“To me, the Stockton community has always come for families in situations like this, and I think Stockton has gotten better and I think we need to stay together and do more people in crisis,” said Ruth Russell who is donating to the family.

Families say they are frustrated with how the city has been handling their concerns over the business across the street and the number of wooden pallets that field the yard. Now, they are dealing with thieves.

“Yeah, they came in and broke in and stole the stove, some paperwork, some other stuff that I haven’t checked out yet. I still call it my home. They have been stealing copper across the street,” said Marsha Rigmaiden, lost her home in the fire.

Stockton City Manager Kurt Wilson and fire chief Erik Newman met with families on Tuesday afternoon but declined to talk about the number of complaints residents have had on the pallet business.

“We understand their frustration and we’ve gone through and reviewed so we want to make sure that we have a full understanding of exactly everything that happened. We got a pretty good understanding right now,” said Wilson.

City Councilwoman Christina Fugazi is planning a fundraiser next week for the families. During a meeting about the event, former mayor Anthony Silva who faces embezzlement charges offered to volunteer and help the families.

“This isn’t about the former mayor; this is about the five families who need the help now. We did not know or expect him to be at the meeting on Sunday and so he’s involved in the community and we’re not sure exactly how the invite came,” said Marcie Bayne, who represents Fugazi.

Families say they have to remain positive as they figure out ways to find shelter.

“I am eternally grateful because everyone who has come out to show support. It’s a pep to our spirits a bit really and restores your faith,” said resident Nakisha Blackmon.

The fundraiser is scheduled for June 7. organizers are still planning out all the details. Meanwhile families will be gathering to meet with Mayor Michael Tubbs on Thursday.


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