Juan Becerra: We didn't get a warning from any authorities. The wind was banging stuff against the walls and against the ceiling. So it woke her up at 2:30 in the morning. She opened the door and the smoke was so thick! We grabbed whatever. And because the power was gone, we had to feel for the flashlight. She was worried, and said, "Maybe we should put [the car on the driveway] on the street." I said, "No no no. We're fine. This is just a precaution. We'll be back." And when we come back, it was just to shells. [We lost] all our memories in there. We had actual pictures. We had digital pictures; in computers, in hard drives, in flash drives, on CDs, on DVDs. All of that is gone. Altogether, in my family, five houses burned down.
Florentina Becerra: This place, the memories, the things, the history of my kids when they were little, I don't have any of these things. But it's okay. My kids are okay, my husband and I are okay.
JB: We were very fortunate. Everybody's been supporting us from the beginning. Friends and family have been offering us shelter, food, clothing, everything. Money. My wife once belonged to a community garden [at Bayer Farms] and they sheltered us so much from the beginning. They started a community kitchen, getting food donations, cooking meals, and all of that. People around that neighborhood, people with nothing, very poor people helped out Elderly people helped out. Disabled people helped out. The support has been awesome!
We're rebuilding. We have very good insurance. When we were shopping for a house, from the moment we turned onto the drive, I liked the neighborhood. And the moment we walked in the house, I said, "This is our house." Our friends and our family that gathered here were always at ease in our house. They felt the quiet. The good atmosphere. So that's why we want to stay here.
FB: I want to say thank you to everyone for the help. To the organizations for the food, to everyone who helped. I want to say thank you to the firemen. They worked to save our lives.
JB: We were running away and they were running in.
FB: Sometimes I have dreams of my house. Sometimes when we are [driving] in the streets, I think I will come back to the house. Then I remember.
JB: It's like losing your limb; you still think it's there. There have been times we're out on the road and I turn and she will say, "Where are you going? Our home is down that way." And then it clicks, and then she gets sad. It's influenced by the coughing. Everybody's having respiratory problems because of this, having been exposed to the smoke and the toxic ashes. It doesn't help. Sometimes we'll use masks but some of us cannot stand them for a long time. It gives me rashes.
FB: And the day [of the fire] we woke up and then we only stayed in the house. No cooking. Only watching TV and talking.
JB: The last Sunday we spent here, the day before the fire, we spent it in the house without doing any chores or anything. We stayed in our pajamas. It was a completely different Sunday.
FB: That was the only Sunday ever that we didn't do anything at all and then ... and then that happened.