TIJUANA (Border Report) — The fast-moving Santa Ana winds, combined with a lack of water in fire hydrants, have hindered firefighters as they try to suppress dozens of wildfires that have erupted throughout Tijuana in the last three days.
One early morning fire Thursday destroyed 62 homes and two factories.
According to Tijuana’s fire department, the flames quickly consumed more than four city blocks, destroying at least 56 properties in one neighborhood alone.
Maricela García, 60, died. Neighbors say she had gotten out of her home but went back to get her pets and never made it back out.
A day earlier, another fire destroyed six homes and one factory.
“There is nothing left,” said resident Eduardo Garcia.
Garcia says he was at work when his wife called telling him to get home right away.
“There are about 30 houses that are all gone,” Garcia said.
Some residents are blaming the city for being unprepared. Tijuana Mayor Arturo Gonzalez has admitted many fire hydrants did not have any water.
The city has opened three shelters to help families that have been left homeless. It is also offering financial assistance to some.