A single mother of six left homeless Monday after fire gutted her apartment is desperately looking for a place to live.
“We’ve been lucky,” said Tara Ardila, who survived the fire with her six children, three of them recently adopted.
“But, I break down in tears,” she told The Signal Thursday. “I don’t know how much more I’m going to be able to take. It’s been very hard.”
On the suggestion of her church a couple of years ago, Ardila and her husband adopted three children who desperately needed a home. But, when she and her husband became estranged last year, Ardila was suddenly a single mom with six kids, two dogs and a monthly rent of more than $2,000.
Ardila’s children are aged: four, eight, 11, 13, 14 and 16.
Then the fire happened.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, Ardila was returning home to her apartment on Dune Lane with groceries when her 13-year-old daughter, at home with the dogs, phoned to say the garage was on fire.
Los Angeles County Firefighters extinguished the fire, but despite the speedy “knockdown,” the two-story dwelling and a garage were gutted.
Fire investigators are following up on reports of a “mentally disturbed” person seen igniting cigarettes and pieces of scrap paper in the neighborhood before the fire, she said.
But regardless of the cause, the fire-damaged apartment is uninhabitable.
Ardila and the kids have been staying with Ardila’s mother in Simi Valley, she said, commuting each day to take the kids to three schools: Fair Oaks Elementary School, La Mesa Junior High School and Golden Valley High School.
“Our main thing now is to find a place to live,” Ardila said. ”We’re looking for a three or four bedroom house to rent.”
Her faith keeps her going, she said, but the journey is difficult.
“I ask ‘How much more do you want me to take?’ but it’s his way of pushing me to get a fresh start,” she said.
“If he (God) just shows me the light I’ll be able to go there,” she said.
Anyone wanting to help should visit the fundraising website set up by the Ardila family at
On the website, Ardila reminds people that: “Prayers are so needed, requested and appreciated.“
Ardila’s cousin Kristin makes her own plea for help writing this message on the GoFundMe site:
“In the past two years my cousin Tara has experienced incredible joy with the adoption of her middle three children and blending into one large and happy family of 9.
“With those joys, she has also endured incredible sorrow as she found herself unexpectedly parenting this family alone.
“Through it all her faith in God has remained strong and she has leaned on her family, church family and friends and now we are asking for more support.
On Monday a garage fire engulfed their belongings, including their washer and dryer, refrigerator, all of the children’s bikes, sports and work out equipment.
They are faced with mounting costs to relocate (moving and deposits). Please read Tara’s faith filled message of gratitude below and consider praying or donating as you are able.
Noted in her plea, was a testament to her cousin’s faith. Ardila wrote in part: “Tonight I was on my knees thanking Him.
– My children and family are safe,
– My animals are safe
– We didn’t lose ‘everything’
– We were not found at fault or negligent
– No one else was injured
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt