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They won’t let it slide

Volunteers fill sandbags at a rapid pace during event preparing hillside areas for rain.

October 04, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

LA CRESCENTA — Jenny Choe saw flames from the Station fire blackening the hillside near her Burritt Way home for several days.

Having bought her home more than 20 years ago, Choe is determined to ensure that it remains unharmed for another two decades.

“This is really all of our lives, and in a minute, I felt like it was going to go,” she said.

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She and other residents, who live near the blackened Deukmejian Wilderness Park, must now deal with the aftermath of the fire and prepare themselves for a slew of problems that may come during this year’s winter storms.

Officials have anticipated that this year’s winter storms could loosen rocks and soil, which would send debris into basins, streets and homes.

So Choe and about 30 other volunteers, including kids and teens, filled up burlap bags with sand Saturday morning.

Volunteers worked quickly, filling 1,000 bags with 2,000 pounds of sand in an hour and a half.

Without the volunteers, it could have taken city employees several days to fill the bags, city park naturalist Eric Grossman said.

“It’s really good for residents to help, so they feel that they are being a part of something,” he said.

Glendale city officials advertised their search for volunteers last week, hoping to add to the city’s stockpile of 3,000 bags, said Iris Hidalgo, the city’s volunteer coordinator.

Residents at the city’s two largely attended meetings on Sept. 27 and 28 expressed interest in helping with any winter storm preparations, she said.

Before the city started the sandbag-filling event, 15 residents were already lined up and ready to work, she said.

Glendale Public Works provided sandbags, shovels, gloves and sand, but some of the volunteers also brought their own tools.

“We are definitely going to have another one,” Hidalgo said. “We just wanted to get started.”

County officials have been giving residents customized plans to safeguard homes.

Resident Mike Webster was told he would need 175 sandbags to protect his home on Dunsmore Avenue during storms and to build a retaining wall for his driveway.

Soon after volunteers finished filling sandbags, Webster started loading the bags into his SUV.

Some of the volunteers did not live in the burn area but wanted to help anyway.

Sherry Stubbs, who lives off of Foothill Boulevard, said the community should untie during tough times.

“We are one community, and we’ve got to stick to together,” she said.


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