Posting this for family/friends curious about our safety and the San Diego fires.
On Monday, October 22nd at 4am the smell of smoke in the area woke us up. We turned on the news and didn’t see anything regarding our area and attempted to sleep. About 5 minutes later we decided to give the news another try and did see our city listed as an area of concern. We decided that the smoke was so bad that we should evacuate anyway.. upon going to the livingroom we realized that about 200ft away we could see flames at the end of our parking area at the base of the closest hill. We packed the car with the pets, belongings and headed out. It took about 10 minutes to actually exit our community due to the other 4,000 residents who also decided it was time to leave. The 3 hour drive to Los Angeles took 5 hours, but we made it safely to my parent’s house and everyone is ok, except Tashie’s foot which she broke while packing the car.
The other details:
Tashie prepared our suitcase in advance and had made checklists, etc. As we were doing the last minute of preperation in the house before we started moving things to the car, we had a neighbor bang on the door to alert us to the danger. When we made it to the parking lot, everyone was honking on the way out to alert the other neighbors to evacuate immediately. While rolling one of the suitcases to the car, the smoke and ash in the air made it difficult to see and Tashie tripped and fractured her ankle. There are over 4,000 residents that live in our small community and we have 2 actual exits to a main road. One of the exits was blocked by fire. Five hours after we evacuated and were safe, we received the “reverse-911″ call letting us know that it was time to leave.
We believe the house is still standing. The night before we left, I hooked up a webcam to watch the house and a 2nd camera pointing in the direction of the fire. The webcam was online for another 8 hours after we left, which means the fire did not continue toward our house at the time. We know that power is out in the neighborhood, so it’s possible that the power outage killed the feed. Friends of friends have been in the area and believe our house was unaffected. Also, at this time the posts of destroyed properties do not list our address as destroyed, however those reports are incomplete.
Our plan for returning to San Diego depends on power being turned on, roads between Los Angeles and San Diego being open and the mandatory evacuation being terminated. The plan will be for Tashie and I to return to San Diego and clean the ash/soot, clean the ruined food out of the refrigerator and put a good air purifier in place. Once we feel the place is clean enough and the air quality is ok, we’ll take a follow-up trip to move our pets back.
Updated 10/25/07 - Heard that our place is ok, had a neighbor call. Won’t have power for a few days though.
Updated: 11/6/07 - Probably should have updated this earlier.. we’re back, no damage just smoke smell.. all’s well, although 4 houses in our neighborhood did burn and we have destruction in any direction within a few blocks, definitely feeling lucky.