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Family Tries To Recover After San Francisco Fire Destroys Their Home

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The massive fire this week that gutted two buildings in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood has left 41 people looking for new homes.

Among those trying to pick up the pieces is Vanessa Buford, who was escorted by firefighters on Friday into the charred remains of her apartment at 1502 Golden Gate Avenue.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

She said nearly all her belongings were damaged beyond repair, including her family's Christmas gifts.

"I did get one. I think it's soaking wet," said Buford. "It's in the car. It smells so smoky. But it's from a dear friend."

Buford has lived in the apartment for 18 years and raised her three children there. Her daughter Ashley said it all seemed so surreal, to lose so much especially during the holidays.

"I don't know where we're going to go because we were planning to have Christmas here," she said.

The Bufords only managed to retrieve a few family pictures that had been in a drawer.

San Francisco Deputy Fire Chief Tom Siragusa said it's been devastating for the families from all 27 burned out units.

"There was a young couple with a 2 ½ year old. We went back into the building and tried to retrieve some of the gifts that they had under the tree," said Siragusa. "They were waterlogged and damaged but we've had to do the best we can."

Firefighters gave several of the families gifts they collected in their annual toy drive.

With the help of the Red Cross, the Bufords have moved to a shelter to make sure the entire family can stay together.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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