Monterey County

Local assistance center set up to help Soberanes fire victims

Agencies come together to help fire victims

CARMEL, Calif. - Olaf Lange lost both of his homes in the Soberanes fire.

"It's basically all gone. It looks like there was never a house, you know," said Lange. "I don't look back now because it doesn't help you."

Fred Philippi has been moving from hotel to hotel because he cannot get to his home on Palo Colorado Road.

"Disorienting, discouraging, a little depressing," said Philippi. "I bounce around because we never know. You think at the beginning of the fire, 'well, I'll be out two or three days and I'll be back,' and then it's a week and then it's two weeks."

Both of Lange and Philippi came to the local resource center set up inside the Carmel Mission Inn where local and state agencies helped fire victims pick up the pieces.

"I was wondering if there is any kind of compensation for us who are not allowed to get back into our homes yet," said Philippi.

About 60 organizations and non-profits were on deck including the DMV, Monterey County Assessor's Office and the Resource Management Agency.

"We're sorry this is happening to folks that have been impacted by it. We feel for them," said Dick Bower with the Office of Emergency Services. "We're trying to do what we can."

Resources, answers and forms were available for everything from replacing a driver's license, to counseling and speeding up the permitting process to rebuild their homes.

"We understand that in disasters such as this we want to make it as easy as possible," said Michael Wold, senior building inspector for Monterey County.

Both Lange and Philippi said they are grateful for the support as they try to make sense of everything that's happened.

"Feel like I want to cry it's so good, you know?" said Lange.

Event coordinators said if need be, they will host another resource center.

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