YUBA CITY (CBS13) — The Yuba City Fire Department said of the 80 people displaced by an apartment fire Monday night; nearly half of them will be without a home.
Fire Chief Jesse Alexander said the cause of the fire is still being investigated and it will be months before people have the chance to set foot back inside their homes. He said he knows all too well about the journey these fire victims are about to go through.
“It’s challenging, especially if you don’t have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to work with. And so usually the best means is to for the short term is to stay [with] friends, relatives or family,” Alexander said.
The American Red Cross is helping those impacted by the fire by setting up a shelter at the Yuba-Sutter fairgrounds on a case-by-case basis.
“I try to stay strong for them. There are times where I break down, but where they can’t see me,” Mary Torres, who lost her apartment in the fire, said.
Victims like Torres said they’re unsure of what to do next.
“This is my first time going through something like this and I have no idea where to go from here,” Torres said.
Housing in Yuba City is still scarce as a result of the Camp Fire and real estate experts say rent has skyrocketed.
CBS13 spoke with local real estate agent Steve McCarthy to get answers on the options these victims now have when it comes to housing in a post-Camp Fire market. McCarthy said people may have to go outside the area to find a rental property that similar in price range considering the scarcity and rising rent.
He also said if people are looking into a new home right away, they want to look into buying a home.
“In this situation, they need everything and they need to keep as much money in their pocket as they can. So, there’s some down payment assistance programs available to them,” McCarthy said.
Torres said she is working with the apartment’s management to see if her family can be relocated to a different property they own.
“I’m thinking of taking it, you know, for the kids,” Torres said.
The memories they had at the complex may have gone up in flames but there’s one thing Torres wants more than anything: “I want them to go to school stable and okay. That’s what I want.”
The real estate expert CBS13 spoke with said there are also credit repair groups that can help people these fire victims with buying a home if they can’t find a rental.