Residents living in the Placerita Chaparral neighborhood were used to evacuating their homes in response to approaching flames. But the fire last Sunday was different.
“Normally the fire is coming from a distance and we have time to evacuate,” said Michael Silvey, who has lived on Tenderfoot Trail Road for 23 years. “The sheriffs came here minutes before the fire came over the hill.”
Mandatory evacuations were put in place for residents on Tenderfoot Trail Road and Running Horse Road. But according to Silvey, fire officials were not on scene at the time.
“We owe the (fire department) a lot,” he said. “But unfortunately they weren’t here. I wouldn’t leave and let the fire come up to the homes.”
So Silvey and other residents decided not to evacuate and hold their ground, but others found the flames to be too close for comfort.
One Placerita Chaparral resident decided to evacuate and didn’t take much more than his medication and a clean t-shirt.
The Signal caught up with Kenneth Price the day of the fire as he was leaving Placerita Canyon Road. He explained that the fire was right on his doorstep when he left.
“The house might not be here,” he said last Sunday. “The fire was in the backyard. When we saw the flames, we knew it was time to go.”
Just up the street from Michael Silvey was Dennis Brazzil. Brazzil was another resident who decided to stay to defend his property from the flames.
Even though he saved his home, he was left with melted sprinklers, a charred balcony and a burnt jacuzzi.
“We would lose the house if we evacuated,” Brazzil said.
Brazzil keeps barrels of water around his property in a case of a fire, which he used while defending his home.
Neighbors were able to bring over hoses to help him wet down the property before the Los Angeles County Fire Department was there to assist.
“You have to support one another,” he said. “No home has ever burnt down here.”
No homes were destroyed as the result of the Placerita Fire.