By Mimi Teller, American Red Cross Volunteer
On a hot and smoky Sunday afternoon, Juniper Hill residents Cyndi Skinner and her daughter Heather drove-up to the American Red Cross LA Region evacuation point at Palmdale High School, along with their fur family – Jasper, Mittens and Princess. With the Bobcat Fire burning on their three-acre property, the Skinners were forced to vacate. Again.
The Skinner’s ancestral home since 1948 is no stranger to fire activity, threats and damage. In July 1953, the Sulfur Springs Campground Fire ravaged 31,500 acres in and around Juniper Hills. Nine months pregnant at the time, Cyndi’s mother-in-law was out fighting the nearby fire when she went into labor with Cyndi’s husband, Jeffrey. The three-acre property also served as one of the fire service staging areas during the 1953 wildfire.
And then in 2006, the home was gutted when vermin-chewed wires set the house ablaze. It was then, the Red Cross first aided the Skinners, providing a hotel room when the fire left their home uninhabitable.
As the recent Bobcat Fire flames licked the edges of their property, fire once again forced the Skinners from their home, but not before consuming a storage barn. The lost barn housed a classic 1928 Dodge “hot rod” that Cyndi’s father bequeathed to her eldest daughter Chyenne.
“It was the only thing she had left from her grandfather” Cyndi lamented. While Cyndi felt fortunate in light of all the loss around her and her family, she was especially grateful for the support the Red Cross was able to lend her family. Again.
The Red Cross remains committed to providing shelter, feeding and emotional support to victims of disasters. If you are in need of shelter or would like to learn more, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit redcross.org/la or cruzrojaamericana.org.