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.