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Many housekeepers and gardeners who work at multi-million-dollar homes in some of Los Angeles’ most upscale neighborhoods arrived to work Monday despite mandatory evacuation orders over fires threatening the area because they were either unaware of the situation or simply needed the day’s pay, a report said.
A report in the Los Angeles Times said that these workers could still be seen on the streets in Brentwood and other affluent areas that had been evacuated hours earlier.
“If they say I have to evacuate, I will,” Chon Ortiz, 50, who was cutting grass, told the paper in Spanish. “But I need the work.”
The reporter spoke to several workers who babysit, perform house-cleaning duties and general yard work in the neighborhood that is home to some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
One woman who showed up for work told the paper she met the family she works for as they were leaving the house. They told her they wouldn’t be using her that day and handed her a mask.
The early morning scene in the area was chaotic, and no doubt, many families who employ these workers simply forgot to tell them about the evacuations due to the traumatic conditions.
At least eight homes were destroyed and six damaged in the LA-area blaze, fire officials said. Some of the recognizable names driven from their homes included LeBron James and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Others who own homes in the evacuation zone include Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat running for president, who was not home at the time; Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger; and rapper and producer Dr. Dre.
David Boyle, 78, awoke at 3 a.m. to his doorbell ringing and police officers pounding on the front door. They warned him the wildfire was advancing toward his house near the Getty complex.
“They said, ‘You need to evacuate.’ I’m like, ‘When?’ They said, ‘Now,’” Doyle said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report