Massive Fire Destroys Working Wardrobes’ Offices and Warehouse in Irvine — Here’s How We Can Help!

This weekend, a massive 4 alarm fire broke out at Working Wardrobes in Irvine. More than 100 firefighters contained the fire. No injuries were reported, but the building is expected to be a total loss.  Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Craig Covey described the non-profit’s structure and its contents as “just complete devastation.”

According to the Orange County Register, while there is as yet no monetary estimate on damages, potentially millions of dollars worth of clothing and office equipment were lost.

This a terribly sad event. Working Wardrobes does great work.

Since 1990, Working Wardrobes has changed the lives of over 100,000 at-risk men, women, young adults, and veterans, bridging the gap between a difficult past and a bright future to help more people realize the power of a paycheck.

“We are absolutely devastated by this catastrophic loss, the heart of our operations is gone and so is 30 years of history,” Jerri Rosen, Founder and CEO, said after the fire. “We are grateful and relieved to report that no one was hurt or in the building at the time of the fire. Now our job is to get back on our feet so we can serve our clients very quickly and we aim to do just that with the help of our remarkable community.”

Working Wardrobes has issues the following message, asking for the public’s help in rebuilding and continuing its mission of providing not just clothing, but also a wide range of workforce readiness services:

“We are determined to work with our employees, volunteers and the Orange County community to rebuild and continue to fulfill our purpose of helping men, women, young adults and veterans overcome difficult challenges so they can achieve the dignity of work.

Financial donations are what we need the most to rebuild and continue to provide services to veterans, seniors, and unemployed get back into the workforce.

Financial Donations, please visit: https://workingwardrobes.org/donate-money/

Our friends at Goodwill have stepped up to provide a temporary home in one of their facilities at 1601 E St Andrew Pl. Santa Ana, CA 92705. We are so grateful for their support and partnership. Much will change for us over the next few months as we start our journey over, but we know the strength of our friends and supporters will buoy us.

Volunteers: We need volunteers to help get our new temporary home set up. Please contact KathiS@workingwardrobes.org or call (714) 210-2460

Donation Needs: We will release a list of our needs for donations soon, please contact (714) 210-2460 for more details.”

Orange County Fire Authority Press Release on New FIRIS Critical Wildfire Intel Program and Increased Local Staffing During Extreme Red Flag Weather

The Orange County Fire Authority is now using the Fire Integrated Real Time Intelligence System (FIRIS), a 150-day pilot program funded with $4.5 million from a state grant secured by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.

Below is an OCFA Press Release detailing deployment of FIRIS and increased staff during the current extreme Red Flag Warning period.

NEW FIRIS PROGRAM PROVIDING

CRITICAL WILDFIRE INTEL

And OCFA Supports Neighboring Fires While Maintain Increased Local Staffing

Irvine, CA – October 29, 2019 – Since being launched nearly two months ago, the new Fire Integrated Real-Time Intelligence System (FIRIS) pilot program aircraft has flown more than a dozen missions and provided enhanced situational awareness to numerous fire agencies. Knowing the fire perimeter and the direction a wind-driven fire is moving has helped decision-makers on the ground determine where to put resources and more importantly which communities to evacuate.

The FIRIS program is fast becoming one of the first air resources requested by Southern California fire agencies when a wildfire breaks out. The ability of the fixed-wing aircraft, equipped with cameras and infrared and radar sensors that can see through smoke, to provide real-time fire perimeter mapping and live high definition video has made a positive difference for incident commanders and decision-makers located in local Command Centers. Data sent from the twin-engine fixed-wing aircraft has also supported the UC San Diego WIFIRE Laboratory that uses its supercomputer to provide a fire spread progression model to be shared with the incident and command center staff.

A partial list of wildfires assisted by FIRIS include: Tenaja –RRU, Ortega-ORC, Palisades-LAF, SaddleRidgeLAF/LAC, Tick, Old, ValVerde-LAC, Kincade-LNU and Getty-LAF.

In addition to the high tech tools being used by the FIRIS pilot program aircraft, Orange County Fire Authority has been supporting its neighbors in Los Angeles with boots on the ground. Currently, four OCFA strike teams are assisting with the Getty Fire. More than 80 firefighters assigned to ten Type 3 brush rigs, and ten Type 1 fire engines are helping to contain the blaze. In addition, the Southern California Edison (SCE) funded night-time hover-filling helitanker and reconnaissance helicopter are also providing support to the Getty Fire. Two of strike teams had previously been assigned to the Tick Fire with the additional two responding upon immediate request of Los Angeles Fire Department.

Neighboring Fires While Maintain Increased Local Staffing

More than a dozen firefighters of various levels, from Division Chief to firefighter, are also providing management and logistics support at the Tick and Kinkade fires.

“Nothing will replace the need for firefighters on the ground battling out of control wildfires. And I appreciate what our men and women do every day,” said Orange County Fire Authority Fire Chief Brian Fennessy. “I am also thankful that through collaboration, the FIRIS technology is helping to make a difference in decision-making which ultimately leads to suppressing wildfires more quickly.”

With critical fire weather predicted through the week, OCFA continues to have increased staffing in order to quickly respond to any wildfire that breaks out in our service territory. More than 100 additional firefighters are ready to respond in a moment’s notice. They’re staffing the following:

  • 10 – Type 1 Fire Engines
  • 5 – Type 3 Brush Rigs
  • 2 – Dozers
  • 3 – Helicopters
  • 2 – Hand Crews
  • 5 – Type 6 Patrols

The community is asked to remain diligent during this critical fire weather. If the wind is blowing, refrain from yard work with motorized equipment, never drive or park on dry grass, and throw cigarettes or other smoking materials properly in containers. For my tips, please visit OCFA.org/rsg.

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