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Stockton Pallet Fire Victims Ask for City’s Help

STOCKTON -- "For a quick moment, you'll think everything is all right. Nothing happened. But they you'll pan down the street and realize, 'Yeah, it happened," said fire victim Nakisha Thompson.

A week after the pallet yard fire that barreled across a street and burned five homes in Stockton, the families who used to live on East Weber Avenue say they can still feel the heat on their skin.

"I'll never forget how hot it was," she said.

Neighbors have donated cash, clothing and food. They've footed the bill for hotel rooms. They've stopped by to see the awful sights and to pray.

"Easily 2,000 to 3,000 people have stopped by," Thompson said.

One person they say they hoped to see, the mayor of the city.

"In the aftermath of the fire, we thought he'd come down here and talk with us," Thompson said.

Thompson went to Stockton City Hall with other fire victims Thursday night, meeting with Mayor Michael Tubbs for the first time since they lost everything.

"So one, why were we ignored? But then two, what are you going to do to help us? This is your city," she said.

"How do we make sure this doesn't happen again? We spent a lot of time on that," Tubbs said.

Tubbs said he listened to the fire victims reiterate that they called the city multiple times to report the unsafe conditions at the pallet yard and they felt the fire could have been prevented.

He said he drove by Weber Avenue Thursday, but there wasn't much the city council could do.

"We can be interveners and facilitators, but city hall doesn't have a ... that's not what we do. But we can work with individuals affected and connect them with people who do do it," Tubbs said.

More than anything, these people say they need new homes. Some lost important documents and don't have money for a new deposit. If you can work with that and rent to them -- stop by and let them know.

"Not to say we're looking for a gigantic mansion or anything, but we'd like to have something to call home," Thompson said.