Family displaced by fire

Family displaced by fireBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

An apartment complex on the 800 block of South Norma Street caught fire last Saturday, May 2. While a speedy response from firefighters prevented the flames from spreading beyond the first building, the damage displaced a family of four.

According to a Kern County Fire Department press release, firefighters responded to a 911 call of smoke coming from a second-story apartment at 4:27 p.m. KCFD personnel verified that the building had been evacuated and had the fire knocked down by 5:12 p.m. Firefighters remained on the scene two more hours, ensuring all hot spots had been extinguished and helping the occupants salvage belongings.

As many as four units were directly affected by the fire and a cause is still undetermined. The fire spread to the attic, collapsing the roof and leaving a gaping hole in the structure.

According to the release, the fire victims were placed in contact with the American Red Cross. Among those affected by the fire were a displaced couple, Michael and Beth Moline, and their two boys – ages 7 months and 5 years. The family has since set up a Facebook fundraiser page – “Son’s Family Needs Help, They Used to Live Here” (

“My son, his wife and their 2 boys are homeless and have lost everything,” posted the fundraiser creator Jan Moline. “They will need assistance in raising the money to find a new place to call home, furnish with the basics and to replace appliances, a sewing machine and clothes. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

Since the page went up, good Samaritans have helped the family raise more than half of its $5,000 fundraising goal.

“I’m already blown away by peoples’ generosity,” said Moline. People have also donated food, clothing and toys for the boys.

“The primary goal and focus now is the Facebook fundraiser,” she said. “The funds will allow the family to regain a place to call home. As Michael and Beth have lost their home and all but a few personal belongings, funds will be used first to secure a place to live.”

She also thanked American Red Cross for providing the family with gift cards that carried them through their first night after the fire.

“And a huge thanks to the fire departments who responded so quickly,” she added.

Twenty-nine firefighters from KCFD responded, along with personnel from China Lake and California City Fire Departments, Ridgecrest Police Department, Liberty Ambulance, American Red Cross and Southern California Edison.

Pictured: Firefighters respond to Saturday’s apartment fire in the 800 block of South Norma left one unit without a roof and displaced a family of four. — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2020-05-08