LODI (CBS13) — Just when they thought it couldn’t get any worse, fire victims are getting victimized again and again across Northern California.
Looters are hitting burned-out homes and taking what’s left of the victims’ belongings.READ MORE: Firefighters Make All-Out Effort to Contain Explosive River Fire Near Colfax
It’s happening so often, firefighters are urging victims to take any leftover valuables the moment they can safely enter their homes again.
“They just tore everything apart. Any photographs that we knew we had, anything that we knew we wanted to keep, it was just tossed about,” said Lisa Lindsay.
Lindsay showed us unimaginable damage, not from the fire that ripped through her South Sacramento home, but from the looters who tore through it afterward.
“We even found a meth pipe that I can show you in the bathroom that they left behind,” Lindsay told CBS13.
We’re finding out that she’s not alone. CBS13 talked with Justine Tudor from Turlock on Wednesday. She shared a similar story of going back through her burned home and realizing someone else had already been there.
“I’m not quite sure what was taken because they just threw everything around that was left,” said Tudor.
The Billings just had their burned home looted in Lodi.
“They broke frames upstairs. They threw my jewelry box all over my bed and the jewelry they didn’t want on the ground,” said Krista Billings.READ MORE: 'Everything Is Gone': Colfax Residents Lose Homes In Devastating River Fire
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Brunton says he sees it time and again.
“I really can’t comprehend it. I’ve been at this a long time, it’s my 35th year in the fire service. Never in my career have I seen the amount of this,” Brunton told CBS13.
“This a regular thing that happens. The firefighters had warned us,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay boarded up her home and the Billings salvaged whatever they could in the middle of chaos.
“She grabbed some jewelry but you can’t think of everything you’ve got to grab when that’s going on you know?” said Sean Billings.
Thieves were determined to take what they could, but they stole much more than they imagined.
“It’s very sad that when people are low and already suffering that there are people that just want to make it worse,” said Nick Billings.
Firefighters recommend calling your insurance company immediately to ask for restoration service. They can have your home boarded up and even fenced off.
But keep in mind some looters are determined and will find a way in. Fire victims urge neighbors to look out for each other and call if they see someone suspicious.MORE NEWS: Search For Bear Injured In Tamarack Fire Continues After Wildlife Rescue Escape
The Billings set up an online fundraiser in hopes their family can get back on their feet sooner.