Countless fundraisers launched for families impacted by Thomas Fire

As the number of families impacted by the Thomas Fire, which as of Tuesday, Dec. 12, had reached epic proportions at 234,500 acres burned, continues to rise, a multitude of fundraisers have been launched in assistance.

GoFundMe, a popular Internet portal for donations, has dozens of fundraisers for victims of the fire. A blog launched over the weekend sought to gather the names of families who lost a home in the fire, and by Tuesday, Dec. 12, the total had reached 100, with an extra 36 unconfirmed reports.

To see the list, which includes links to fundraising pages to support the families, visit https://ojaistrongcom.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/people-who-lost-homes/.

Scammers target victims of Thomas Fires across county

As the Thomas Fire raged, so, too, did residents dealing with those looking to take advantage of the situation. On Thursday, Dec. 7, Southern California Edison issued a scam alert via its social media pages warning of potential fraud for residents in evacuation zones.

“Alert: There are reports of individuals posing as SCE employees going to residences in fire areas, attempting to enter homes. If you suspect suspicious activity in evacuated areas, immediately call police or SCE at 800-655-4555. #CreekFire #ThomasFire #RyeFire.”

Representatives from Edison say that while reports of impostors are anecdotal at the moment, they insist that residents should be aware.

“It’s important that our customers be made aware of these impostors posing as Edison employees going to residences in fire areas, attempting to enter homes,” said Susan Cox, project manager. “SCE employees will never enter a residence nor ask for cash payments for services. If you suspect suspicious activity, immediately call police.”

For more information and tips on fraud prevention, visit https://www.insideedison.com/stories/tips-to-stay-safe-from-utility-bill-scams.

Off-duty officer arrested in Ventura shooting

As the Thomas Fire raged toward the city of Ventura, a spat between neighbors resulted in one man shot and another, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer, arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

In the early hours of Tuesday, Dec. 5, at approximately 12:43 a.m., officers from the Ventura Police Department responded to calls received reporting shots fired on the 2500 block of Bayshore Avenue in Ventura. Officers arriving on the scene discovered one victim, a male, 49 years old, with a gunshot wound to the back.

The shooter was identified as Trever Dalton, 45, an off-duty CHP officer from the Ventura CHP office. Dalton got into an altercation with the victim in his driveway and fired twice at the man as he fled, striking him once. An investigation was launched and Dalton was arrested at the scene.

The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment and is expected to recover. The incident is still under investigation.

Downtown Ventura lifts parking fees, declares area open for business

The city of Ventura has lifted parking fees for Downtown through Jan. 2, 2018, in an effort to lure shoppers kept away by the Thomas Fire.

The Downtown Ventura Organization requested that the fees be lifted through the holidays, and the city obliged. Under normal circumstances, visitors to downtown Ventura are required to pay for up to two hours of parking in certain areas, with free parking available in designated areas.

Drivers, however, must continue to follow posted parking signage and colored curb regulations.