Meeting Held for Malibu Residents Affected by the Woolsey Fire

The City of Malibu held a Malibu evacuee update meeting at Santa Monica High School’s Barnum Hall on the evening of Tuesday, November 12, in Santa Monica. This follows four days after the Woolsey Fire began destroying parts of Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, and Malibu, which led to over two-hundred and fifty thousand people having to evacuate their homes.

Over a thousand people filled the main level and balcony portion of the high school’s hall as Reva Feldman, Malibu’s City Manager, began the meeting. “This is a very very hard time for our city and our community,” said Reva. “I’d like to start with a moment of silence to recognize the victims of last week's shooting of the Borderline Grill… I’d like to recognize the two victims who were killed in their car during this fire trying to escape as they evacuated… And I’d like a moment of silence for all of us who’ve lost so much in our community.”

Malibu residents listened intently as members from the two other agencies facilitating the event, Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, walked to the podium to speak to the crowd. ”As firefighters when we do lose a house due to fire, we truly personalize that and we bury a burden,” said LACFD Chief Deputy David Richardson. “[LACFD] continues to be here, for everyone of you, as we continue forward.”

As more representatives went to speak to the crowd, audience members grew frustrated and disrupted the speakers by vocalizing their demands for answers, one of them being Dominic Surprenant, a Malibu resident. “I wanted to get some information that I thought was pretty basic and should have been provided and unfortunately it wasn’t,” said Surprenant. He said he did receive information on the number of estimated destroyed structures or a rough time frame of when he and other Malibu residents would be able to go home. “This is a tremendous tragedy, no one’s to blame for, but I think the community deserved some information.”

Right outside of the hall, representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), had a table set up for people to sign up. The day before the meeting, president Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration, “which allowed funding for individuals and families, that’s renters and homeowners, to register with FEMA to allow for grants and also low interest loans for individuals who were affected by the wildfire,” said Veronica Verde, FEMA’s External Affairs Officer. 

To sign up with FEMA, call 1-800-621-3362. This meeting was recorded and is available to watch online.