BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — This year’s first deadly fire took the lives of two people last week in Oildale on Moneta Avenue.
The fire also consumed a home leaving a man to struggle and survive without a place to live or any possessions.
57 years old, a proud and happy owner of a tortoise and rabbit he rescued and raised. This is Robert Marin and he’s lived in his home for almost a decade. But now, that time has come to an end, after a fire took almost everything from him.
“I woke up to my neighbor yelling and trying to wake us up and he woke us up and he said there was a fire in the back,” Robert Marin said. “There was a lot of boom and popping.”
Robert and his sons got out of the home safely. His daughter Cherie who lives next door with her children got out safe too.
Now Robert and Cherie didn’t get along with the two other neighbors, the ones that died in the fire.
“Because of the drugs that they were doing back here and the people they were associating with us they would harass us and they would say racial things to us all the time,” Cherie said. “So we kept our distance from them we didn’t bother them and we didn’t want them to bother us… No they weren’t nice people to us but they were still people.”
Robert and Cherie’s homes had wood walls, perfect for catching and spreading the fire. The home where it all started was made with bricks but cluttered objects throughout the house worked as fuel for the flames.
“The fire officials told us that she was in there smoking or doing drugs and she had passed out on the bed with something lit in her hands,” Cherie said.
This is the first fire this year that’s killed someone. Last year, we’ve had 10 people die to fires in Kern County.
But Robert didn’t die, but instead lost his home and possessions, all except for his wallet and clothes he wore as he fled his home.
“It’s like rebuilding you know? He left with his slippers and a pair of shorts and a shirt,” Cherie said. “We have PTSD and we’re traumatized you know.”
The family is asking the community for help. They created a GoFundMe page for Robert. They said any little bit helps, even just bare necessities like groceries would go a long way.
If you can’t donate, they ask instead for you to say a prayer for them instead.
You can find Robert’s GoFundMe page by clicking on the link.