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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 11, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 06Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

11 church-member families lose their homes in the New Mexico fire
BYU NewsNet 5Jun00 D1
By Alysa Phillips: NewsNet Staff Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO -- 11 of the families that lost their homes in the recent fire in Los Alamos, New Mexico were members of the LDS Church, according to BYU's NewsNet service. The families were among 400 that either lost their homes or had their homes damaged due to the fire, which started as a controlled burn by the U.S. Forest Service that got out of control. Damage for the fire totals nearly $6.5 million.

Other LDS families, including Los Alamos ward members George and Sandy Jennings, were evacuated from their homes because of the fire, "After we evacuated Los Alamos, we could see clouds of smoke where the town was," said George Jennings. The Jennings were fortunate because their home was undamaged and their property not touched. "A fireball must have gone over our house," Sandy said. "The two houses across the street are totally gone and there are only semi-recognizable remains of our neighbors' houses. Most of the houses don't even have walls left standing," she said.

Another ward member, Lawry Mann, who is also chairman o fhte county council, said the town looks like a bomb site, "The city was leveled," he said. "We can't even see where the water heaters or stoves were in the houses. Everything just melted."

According to Relief Society President Patricia Peterson, the ward was also prepared with an emergency plan, established long before the fire. As soon as the emergency started, ward members knew where to go to check on members in their section of the town. Many members also had three-day emergency kits prepared, according to Mann.

Most of the residents had three days notice for the evacuation. But many went to the neighboring city of White Rock, which was also evacuated just twelve hours later. They ended up in Santa Fe, where they spent the night in a high school gym. Many Church members were able to then stay with members in Santa Fe.


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