JAMUL, Calif. (KGTV) - Labor Day weekend marks one year since the Valley Fire started in East County, which ultimately burned 16,390 acres. Many homes and structures in the Jamul area were lost in the blaze.
One year later and the rebuilding process still has a long way to go for many of those impacted, including Irving Beeman and his wife, who lost their home of 20 years. They also lost a shed full of Irving’s nicest tools, a treehouse that their children grew up climbing in, trees that blanketed their property and more.
In addition to losing everything, they’ve also had to deal with severe cases of COVID-19 in the fall, plus a big-picture shortage of construction supplies, which is slowing the rebuilding process.
Even after a whole year, Irving says there is still much to be done. They’ve just barely started the process of building their new house, which they’ve decided to move up the hill with the hopes of keeping it safe. They also still have dozens of burned trees on their property that need to be cut down and disposed of, a challenging process for Irving who has long-term shoulder problems.
“It’s depressing. I come out every morning and I look out and I don’t know. I still haven’t cried,” said Irving, saying he’s always struggled processing emotions.
He said they were lucky to have fire insurance, but still are losing money in the cleaning-up process, plus they believe the insurance money won’t cover many of the valuable tools and items that burned. He hopes they’ll be able to move into the new house in the next year, but knows it will take multiple years to rebuild the life they lost.
Through all of these obstacles, Irving said there’s one thing keeping him motivated.
“Me and my wife are still here. That’s it until we can get all this back together. It’s going to be a while,” he said.