News

    California Residents Confront Results of Wildfires

    As firefighters continue to battle blazes in Southern California, many San Diego residents returned to neighborhoods once in the fires' path. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Ramona, outside San Diego, that some people have found their homes destroyed, while others have suffered little or no damage.

    It is one of the paradoxes of wildfires. One house can be destroyed while a neighbor's is left standing.

    In the last few days, the wildfires have burned down 1,800 homes in California, 80 percent in San Diego.

    For families returning from hotels and evacuation centers, the question of whether they would find their home still standing was soon answered.

    One family on the outskirts of Ramona sifted through the rubble of their home.

    Across the road, the house of Ernie Medina was left untouched, but his barn had burned to the ground.

    Medina had stayed on his property as long as he could, defying authorities, but he says he was powerless as flames swept through last Sunday.  He escaped in his truck just in time.

    "Embers were bouncing off me about golf ball size," he recalled.  "It was like being in a war, [it] is the only way I can explain it.  They were bouncing off me.  It looked like tracer bullets traveling about two to three feet off the ground."

    In the nearby hills, a Mexican immigrant named Fernando escaped the fire with his family, and his house also survived the fire.  But flames destroyed a trailer on his property and a shed behind his house with construction tools.

    He says he lost $8,000 in equipment.

    Amid the burned out-trees on the other side of town, farmer George Schnurer is thankful his home is standing.

    "The fire got very, very close to the house," he said.  "And through the efforts of the firefighters, they saved the houses, which I'm very grateful for."

    On Friday, firefighters including Don Stasiowski got a welcome break, and expressions of gratitude, after days of non-stop efforts.

    "In those first early days, hours, you don't have much of a choice, because they don't have enough people down here yet, so you just have to keep working, and rest when you can, and just work," he noted.

    Also Friday, the community clinic was ready to reopen to help residents deal with breathing problems and other illnesses caused or worsened by the blazes.

    Utility workers were getting electric power, water, and telephones working again.

    Ramona resident Ron Newman says he has always been skeptical about officials in government, but is impressed with their response to this disaster.

    "The whole system in general worked," he said.  "And, sure, there are going to be glitches, and we're going to go back and see what we could have done better, but that's what a good, smart society does is learn from their mistakes.  And I'm telling you, I didn't see hardly any in this one."

    But residents here in Ramona say it may take some time to get life back to normal.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora