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The Fresno Bee from Fresno, California • A20

The Fresno Beei
Fresno, California
Issue Date:
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SUNDAY A20 THE FRESNO BEE-SOUTHTHE FRESNO BEE SOUTH 20 Logical Page is THE FRESNO 23:21 page A20 the fresno bee BACK PAGE sunday, november 16, 2008 Sayre fire Acres burned: Containment: Evacuations: 10,000, mandatory Structures destroyed: Cascades apartment complex in Anaheim Hills burned, Orange County fire spokeswoman Ange- la Garbiso said. Garbiso said six firefighters from various agencies were in- jured, including four Corona firefighters who were hurt when lames swept over their engine. Two of the Corona crew mem- bers required hospital treat- ment but were released. Firefighters scrambled as a sleet of embers hurled by the high winds ignited handfuls of homes scattered over miles of housing tracts. fire everywhere.

just blowing through. We had a hard time keeping up because of all the different Ful- lerton fire Battalion Chief Terry Schulz said. Nearly 5,900 acres were charred in Riverside and Or- ange counties, with more than 12,000 people in 4,500 dwellings under mandatory evacuation or- ders in Anaheim alone. Evacua- tion figures in other cities were no longer available. A separate, fire in the Orange County city of Brea destroyed the main building of a high school.

Devin Nathanson, 27, had put down a deposit at the Cascades apartment complex and had planned to move in Sat- urday. Instead, he watched from the road as it burned to the ground. least none of my stuff was inside he said. Firefighters had desperately struggled to save the apartments that were going up one after another as quarter-sized embers loated through the air above the tennis courts and a kidney-shaped swimming pool. Palm trees lining the entrance to the complex were ablaze.

Two firefighters manned hoses at the swimming pool and sprayed water on the leasing center. The roof caved in with a loud bang. Mary Haley, 23, of Yucaipa was driving down the 91 Free- way on her way to a concert at Disneyland in Anaheim when lames and smoke rushed to- ward the road. She panicked and drove off, going the wrong way on an onramp. Extreme fire conditions were expected to continue into this morning, with humidity at just to and winds gusting to 45 mph through canyons.

Winds, however, could reverse direc- tion and dip to 5 mph breezes this afternoon. still have another 15 hours of red lag Robert Balfour, a senior meteo- rologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego, warned fire officials at a brief- ing Saturday night. Many heat records were set as the region withered under the Santa Anas. Downtown Los An- geles was 20 degrees above nor- mal at a record 93 degrees. The Los Angeles blaze, whose cause was under investigation, threatened at least 1,000 struc- tures, city Fire Department spokeswoman Melissa Kelley said.

A burned resident was in serious condition, and four fire- fighters were treated for minor injuries. Fire officials estimated that at its peak, 10,000 people were under orders to evacuate. How- ever, many evacuation orders were lifted Saturday night po- tentially giving thousands of people a chance to return home as winds eased somewhat and firefighters made progress in containing sections of the blaze, Fire Department spokesman Ron Haralson said. The evacuation was still in ef- fect for residents of the Oakridge Mobile Home Park, where the 500 mobile homes were lost to the lames. Many had housed senior citizens.

Los Angeles police said five people were arrested for looting. At an evacuation center, Lu- cretia Romero, 65, wore a string of pearls and clutched the purse and jacket she snatched as fire- fighters shouted at them to lee hours earlier. Her daughter, Lisa, 42, wore a bloodstained shirt and pants. A helicopter dropping water on their home caused the entryway ceiling to collapse. Debris scratched her forehead and gave her a black eye.

They were optimistic that their home of 30 years survived because firefighters were there when they left. But the family cat, Doris, was missing. Lucretia Romero said she saw smoke above the hills beyond the front door and then, within an hour, saw that a canyon across from her home was red with lame. would drop water, the water would squash the lames and then two minutes later the lames would come she said. Firefighters soon banged on the door and gave them 10 min- utes to evacuate.

Flames swept across the park and scorched cy- press trees, Ruda said. Firefight- ers had to lee, grabbing some residents and leaving hoses melt- ed into the concrete. Ruda produced a burned U.S. lag on a broken stick as a sign of hope and bravery for firefight- ers. home that this lag was lying from is he said.

No deaths or injuries were im- mediately reported at the park. However, Police Chief Will- iam Bratton said he was con- cerned that some people may have died because cars were found in the debris. Police have to wait until the ground cools to bring in search dogs. The Santa Anas dry winds that typically blow through Southern California between Oc- tober and February began to decrease in the afternoon and were expected to drop further overnight. However, humidity was expected to remain low below in some Orange County canyons, said National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Vanderburg.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the Sylmar fire caused problems that tempo- rarily shut down two electrical transmission lines, and he asked residents to conserve power to help avoid possible blackouts. However, no lines burned. Shortly after midnight, the Sylmar fire burned to the edge of the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center campus, knocking out power and forcing officials to evacuate two dozen critical pa- tients. For residents of Sylmar, at the edge of the Angeles National For- est beneath the San Gabriel Mountains, the fire underscored the hazards that come with liv- ing close to nature when the dan- gerous winds fan catastrophic blazes. Residents of a nearby trailer park lost their homes in a fire a month ago.

winds made it very difficult for Los Angeles Deputy Fire Chief Mario Rueda said. they arrived the it was very well developed into the for- The shifting winds caused the fire to move uphill toward the San Gabriel Mountains, down- hill toward homes and some- times skip across canyons. It also jumped across Interstates 5 and 210, forcing the California Highway Patrol to shut down portions of both freeways and some connecting roads. Associated Press writers Gillian Flaccus in Orange County, and Thomas Watkins, Alicia Chang, Bob Jablon, Daisy Nguyen and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report. Continued from Page A1 Tea fire Acres burned: 1,500 Containment: Evacuations: 5,400, mandatory Structures destroyed: 183 By Thomas Watkins Associated Press LOS ANGELES Fire Capt.

Andrew Ruiz and his crew tried to save scores of mo- bile homes at Oakridge Mo- bile Home Park early Satur- day. By daybreak, just one home was standing in the sec- tion of the park where they had fought their battle, now a landscape of wreckage and ashes. The three-bedroom mobile home at 508 Sombrero was a sort of consolation for Ruiz and his three-man crew, who reached the Sylmar trailer park shortly after midnight as a wildfire pushed closer to homes. They and other fire- fighters initially were able to keep the lames away from homes but were overwhelmed when the wind picked up, gust- ing to more than 70 mph. was like a blow torch after Ruiz said Satur- day, ash and soot ringing his lips.

Walls of lames 50 feet high swept across the park. Cy- press trees guarding the gated entrance lit up first. Then the fire leaped from one prefabri- cated home to the next in a matter of minutes. When the water ran out, firefighters fell back, abandon- ing hoses that melted into the asphalt. They piled elderly res- idents into water tenders and firetrucks and retreated.

Some needed medical help for smoke inhalation. The park had about 600 mo- bile homes, but only 124 were left standing Saturday, Los An- geles fire Capt. Steve Ruda said. gave a good Ruiz said. Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said he is con- cerned that some people may have died at the mobile home park, noting that many elder- ly people lived there.

He said police must wait until the ground cools to bring in search dogs. Outside the park, Anthony Aguilar, 23, peeked over a wall at the devastation. His grandfather had lived in the park and Aguilar helped evacuate him over- night. was some elderly people who had no idea what was going Aguilar said. neighbor who lived across the street is 95.

She was oblivious, we had to pound on her Many residents led last month when a huge blaze threatened the area in the San Fernando Valley of Los Ange- les. This time, however, there was little time to grab person- al belongings. time everything hap- pened really quickly and now lost said David Munoz, 48, who learned his entire street was leveled. Firefighters closed the mo- bile park to investigate the cause of the fire. Anxious resi- dents waited behind a fire line set up outside the mobile home park to learn the fate of their homes.

Barbara Felder and her partner Chuck Godwin had found their way past a road- block and surveyed the wreck- age of their home. Their guns had burned inside the gun chest, English an- tiques were destroyed even the cremated remains of husband were gone. his ashes are in the said the 57-year-old Felder. About all that remained were some barbells, an an- tique iron stove and a white picket fence. The fence was warped from the heat.

THE FRESNO BEE Tea fire Sayre fire Santa Barbara Ventura Los Angeles 15 miles Pacific Ocean Los Padres National Forest Source: CALFIRE 126 118 5 101 Sayre fire County: Los Angeles County Start date: Friday at 10:29 p.m. Location: Sylmar Tea fire County: Santa Barbara County Start date: Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Location: Montecito, Cold Springs Creek and Hot Springs Road Fires: Many heat records set in SoCal Setting it straight 8 It is The policy to acknowledge errors promptly. Mistakes should be called to the attention of the editors involved. Local news 441-6330 National, world 441-6466 Business 441-6329 441-6351 Sports 441-6340 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 Mobile homes at ground zero of fire AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE A fire in Sylmar in the hillsides above Los San Fernando Valley destroyed 500 mobile homes, nine single-family homes and 11 commercial buildings, then grew to more than 8,000 acres more than 12 square miles and was only contained.

It sent residents fleeing in the dark Saturday morning as Santa Ana winds topping 75 mph pushed flames. ASSOCIATED PRESS More than 60 homes were damaged or destroyed in a fire that erupted in in Corona and spread west into Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills. ASSOCIATED PRESS Antoinette Cimmino, right, who just learned her home was saved, em- braces Ruth Kamke at an evacuation center set up at Sylmar High School. Kamke lost her home at the Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park. have almost total devastation here in the mobile park.

I even read the street names because the street signs are Los Angeles fire Capt. Steve Ruda, of the Sayre fire that destroyed numerous homes and structures, including 500 mobile homes.

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