The Woolsey Fire, with its devastating effects on more than a quarter of a million people spanning 96,949 acres, taught Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage that no matter how many homes are destroyed, the human spirit always prevails. More than three months after the Woolsey Fire, Terry Lucoff hopes to rebuild his properties lost to the fires, the Apel family begins to heal in a new home, and Margaret Hauptman, who lost her home to the fires, is hopeful that Malibu will rise from the ashes.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the Woolsey Fire burned 96,949 acres, destroying 1500 structures and damaging 341 structures. Terry Lucoff, an affiliate agent with the Malibu Colony office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and his wife had been back only one day from a trip to Hawaii when the fires made their way through Malibu. They had barely unpacked their suitcases, which contained the only clothing they would own. During the fire, they commissioned a trailer to live in while they sorted out their next move and stationed themselves in a parking lot close to work. After fighting for permits and his right to be back on his burned down properties with insurance companies and local administrative entities, Lucoff was the first to officially be granted planning approval for his properties. He lost four properties to the fire, including a home on Clover Heights in Malibu Park, which he owned since 1975 and built with his own hands and hammer.
“To lose one home is devastating enough, but multiple, and in different locations in Malibu was exponentially unfortunate,” said Lucoff. “Moving forward, I am looking toward the prospects of rebuilding properties and am eager to get back into the ocean and ride the waves. I’ve seen and been through much, which amazingly has not slowed me down. At 72, I’ve still got it!”
During the early stages of the Woolsey Fire, the Apel family’s Malibu home burned to the ground, leaving nothing but ashes. The Apels were only able to save the clothes on their backs and a small number of belongings they were able to pack as the fires engulfed the hills of Malibu. As of 2019, Scott James, an affiliate agent with the Glendale office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, has helped the Apel family find a new two-bedroom townhouse in Malibu while they prepare to rebuild their former home in the hills of Malibu.
“Buying a home empowers you to take control of your life, increases your self-worth, and best of all, gives you options to diversify your financial life, so losing your home can be extremely traumatic,” said James. “The Apel family’s story shows that against certain odds or challenges, there is still hope for new beginnings. I hope this incredible success story will inspire others to heal and start anew in 2019!”
According to Los Angeles County, a quarter of a million people were evacuated. Although some were able to return to an unharmed home or home with minimal damage, many lost their homes completely or returned to find them severely damaged, leaving them displaced and homeless. Margaret Hauptman, an affiliate agent with the Malibu Colony office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, lost her home during the Woolsey Fire and many memories associated with it.
“I feel the pain of loss and separation on a daily basis, and it surrounds me as I work beside our agents helping others who have lost their homes to the fires. To know that the home my husband built for our family is now nothing but rubble, leaves me with such a saddened heart. I also see in those who, like me, lost homes to this tragedy an overriding resolve to persevere and live in this beautiful community again,” said Hauptman. “Our Malibu is worth it, and I look forward to the day I can once again reside there with my family!”
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the No. 1 residential real estate brokerage in Southern California, operates approximately 75 offices with approximately 4,480 affiliated agents. Real estate agents affiliated with the company are independent contractor agents and are not employees of the company. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is part of NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company. For more information, please visit ColdwellBankerHomes.com. CalRE# 00616212
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