Scores of Newhall tenants displaced by Railroad Fire

Eddie Alvarez at the American Red Cross evacuation center set up at Golden Valley High School. Signal photo by Jim Holt.

The Railroad Fire was reported by fire officials Tuesday morning to be 85 percent contained, having burned 10 acres of brush and having damaged at least 14 apartments in two buildings, displacing scores of people.

At least three firefighters suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital.

There were no reports of civilians having been hurt, Vanessa Lozano, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said Tuesday morning.

The fire was first reported about 4:15 p.m. as 3-acre brush fire moving toward the apartment buildings on Adler Drive and Trumpet Drive.

It quickly damaged three structures — two apartment buildings including 11 apartments on Alder and three on Trumpet.

An estimated 100 people showed up at the American Red Cross evacuation center set up in the gymnasium of Golden Valley High School, Red Cross spokeswoman Michelle Santiago said Tuesday.

“That number fizzled out during the night,” she said, which left about 30 people at the high school. “This was temporary for most.”

About a dozen cots with blankets and pillows were set out for people displaced by the fire with no place to go.

About a dozen people from three or four families, including a couple of children, spent the night at the center.

By 7:30 a.m., there was only Eddie Alvarez and his family — his parents and his younger sister — still at the center.  Fire had gutted their Alder Drive apartment.

“My dad was just driving by when he saw the smoke and he went up to the apartment and tried to get our pets,” Alvarez said, noting he rescued three dogs and three cats with one cat missing.

Shortly after 7:30 p.m., some tenants, provided they had identification, were allowed into the damaged apartments to collect clothes, Alvarez said.

“I found the cat. He was scared but he was fine,” he said.

Like other tenants who saw their apartments burned, the Alvarez family suffered fire damage to the roof and water damage to the garage.

With all their pets accounted for, and thankful none of them were inside the apartment when fire broke out, the Alvarez family found themselves with no place to stay.

“Then the lady with the Red Cross was telling everybody (at the scene) about the evacuation center,” he said.

Inside the center, they found water, food, shelter and a huge industrial face.

Eddie Alvarez, who works as a cook for Panda Express, was asked what food was made available to families at the center.

“Panda,” he said, with a laugh.

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A woman remains at her post at the American Red Cross evacuation center. Signal photo by Jim Holt.

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