CEDARPINES PARK, Calif. – The mountain home owned by the president and chief executive officer of the California Credit Union League has survived Southern California's wildfires. "We were very lucky," said David L. Chatfield. "We were very fortunate." At least 14 homes in his small community of Cedarpines Park in the San Bernardino mountains were destroyed by the fires, which raged in Southern California for nearly two weeks. The fires scorched more than 750,000 acres, destroyed at least 3,500 homes and left 20 people dead. While Chatfield's home was spared, employees and members at some California credit unions weren't so lucky. Five employees of Arrowhead Credit Union lost their homes, as did at least five members of Norton Community Credit Union. Both credit unions are headquartered in San Bernardino. At least four members of USA Federal Credit Union in San Diego also had their homes destroyed by fires in that area. And at least two dozen members of California Coast Credit Union, also in San Diego, lost their homes. Tens of thousands of residents in the San Diego, San Bernardino and Simi Valley areas were forced to evacuate. Chatfield was able to get back into his neighborhood on Oct. 31 when he toured the area with Arrowhead Credit Union President and CEO Larry Sharp. No damage was reported to Arrowhead branches in Crestline and Big Bear in the San Bernardino mountains, although the Crestline branch had been threatened by flames. Chatfield and his wife Kris were able to return to their home again on Nov. 2 for a few hours to pick things up from the house. "It may be weeks before we are able to live in our house again, and months or years before our community is back to normal, but we are grateful that our home was spared," Chatfield said. "At the same time, we extend our thoughts and sincere sympathies to those who lost loved ones or property in this senseless tragedy. . ." The Chatfields were out of state when the fires erupted. They returned on Saturday, Oct. 25, but could not get into the area for nearly one week. -

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