September 25, 2017
I was working when I got a text from my friends about a fire in corona. I looked up photos and saw that it was close to the freeway and didn't think twice about it. I drove home after work and ashes were falling all over my in-laws backyard, I started looking through Facebook posts and saw that the wind direction changed and it was now heading toward my parents house which is my childhood home. I called my parents immediately and told them to go get the dogs and to start packing up just in case but they didn't seem alarmed so that helped calm me down. September 25th is the day before my birthday and my family was coming over to have a BBQ; they were super late so we started wondering where they were. I called my little brother greg and he gave me a horrifying update.
He went with my parents up the hill to our friends house and the fire was rapidly coming down the mountain toward the their home. My parents helped them evacuate all the children and only the most precious memories. Greg and my parents now headed down the hill to their house to slowly start packing; they still hadn't been ordered to evacuate but the fire was hurling down the hill towards them. I facetimed Greg and he showed me that our neighbors were packing up their trailers and there were lines of cars leaving our street. This is when the panic kicked in for me. I walked to my room to be alone and the tears started flowing; I was filled with fear. I called my older sister, Katy, and she started calming me down. Katy and her husband, Wayde, were headed to our home to help them pack up and that's when Shane and I got in his truck and left for my parents.
As Shane and I were driving we began to see the flames; it was absolutely terrifying. How can something be so destructive; how can it take so much in so little time? I was literally shaking with fear. Once we entered the fire zone it felt like we were in a horror film. Sirens everywhere, people driving like lunatics without following any of the street laws, and people parked in our way trying to get photos for their facebooks. It was so upsetting how people were blocking the way of us trying to get to my family. We reached my street and the mountains surrounding my home were engulfed in flames; I thought to myself that this is the last time I'll see this house standing. I ran in and hugged my parents immediately then got to packing. Shane & I also had precious items stored in their spare bedroom while we are between homes; my parents had gotten almost everything by that time so I went to get some of our things. I managed to pack two of those reusable grocery bags when loudspeakers started sounding alarms. "GET OUT NOW! THIS IS A MANDATORY EVACUATION! GET OUT NOW! THIS IS A MANDATORY EVACUATION!" It.Was.Horrifying.
On our way out the door I realized that we still hadn't located one of our cats. With the police continually telling us to leave I just couldn't leave without looking one last time. Luckily I heard his little meow and he was hiding in the corner. I had to grab his tail so he wouldn't run but then I got a grip on the loose skin behind his neck. Before leaving I stood there and took one last look at the home I was raised in. I was sure I would never see it again. I prayed...I begged God to spare it and then we all left.
While driving away all the panic set in, I have no idea how I was able to drive safely but we needed to head to my sisters to pack her home in case they were evacuated. We all stood together behind her home watching the hills take flame, it was heart breaking. I hardly slept that night but I was so exhausted; I kept checking the fire departments updates to make sure they didn't announce that homes had been destroyed. After updating the webpage multiple times I must have fallen asleep.
I woke up at about 4:30am to find a report that only one home had been affected badly and four others had mild damage. I can not believe the skill and talent that those firefighters have. Praise God for the sacrifice that the policemen and firemen have. Our home would have been destroyed without their service. The evacuation is still in place but the fire was moving away from the homes.
Thank you so much for reading through this and giving me a chance to document this event.