Colby Fire Victim’s Home Under Construction is Vandalized

Gena Palo observes the damage left behind after an act of vandalism. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Atop Conifer Road, Gena Palo stood forlorn at the front of her future home being built after the original was destroyed during the Colby Fire, the new home having been vandalized over the weekend.

The suspect or suspects broke through the front door, ripping it off the hinges and threw materials and trash about the interior. Paint cans were thrown down from the second story, spilling brown house paint all over the floors. A window was partially broken and a small fire was ignited inside a loose electrical conduit.

All that remains of the original home are the stone steps that led up to the front door.

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

“It blows my mind. They were just throwing stuff around. They stole copper wire,” Palo said as she gave GCN a tour of the damage, which occurred between Saturday, December 19 and Monday morning.

“I just want to come home,” Palo said, standing in the middle of a very bare first floor.

“My fear is all the allen wrenches to the doors are missing. I think they’re planning on coming back,” Palo said.

Palo drives to the home every night to make sure her gates are locked. She noted that the gates were locked when her contractors arrived Monday morning.

Glendora Police Detective Matt Fenner said the fire lit in the conduit likely was not arson. The burnt paper pieces were collected as evidence along with a cigarette butt from which DNA will be pulled and entered into a database.

“We’ll get a match, we’ll prosecute them and we’ll arrest them,” Fenner said.

Gina and her husband John watched the Colby Fire January 16, 2014 as it sped westward. Winds blew flames over the Easley Canyon Estates. Soon, fire ignited the brush and trees near the Palo’s garage.

The speed with which the fire moved prevented the family from escaping with anything more than their children’s photos, Gina said.

“My house was brick and tile roof and it burned down,” Palo said.

The Palos are enduring the aftermath of the Colby Fire, having to wade through the myriad that is the insurance process and the frustrations of the rebuilding process.

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Palo found in the mess left after the vandalism a small Cross, a sign of hope in a difficult time.

Palo said she will have surveillance cameras installed to hopefully deter those who did this from coming back and prevent newcomers from taking advantage of them.

“We got our kids out. We have so many blessings. People were phenomenal to us,” Palo said.

Construction is expected to be completed by spring.

Anyone with information on the vandalism can call Detective Matt Fenner at (626) 914-8288.