Life is never dull around here.

I spent Saturday getting ready for guests.  In the late afternoon, the bulk of my chores were done and I decided to go for a quick swim before my friends arrived.

I went out to clean the pool with our pool net before swimming.  I heard the voices of a couple guys (obviously intoxicated) partying in our canyon.  I noticed, because normally it's very, very, quiet where I live.

People are not allowed to be where these guys were, and the thought of calling our neighborhood security passed through my mind.  The thing is, I only had about a half hour to spare and I decided they were probably harmless hikers so I dismissed the thought.  (We do get hikers in the canyon frequently.)

As it turns out, even if I had called security they would not have arrived in time to prevent what happened.

I went inside and put my bathing suit on.

I came out just a minute or two later to see smoke and flames immediately behind my house.

I ran to call 911.  

I also called for help from everyone in my house.

It took nine minutes for the firemen to arrive.

Nine minutes doesn't sound like long, but when you live in a canyon filled with dry brush, and it's on fire, nine minutes is an eternity.

My husband immediately began hosing off the bushes on the perimeter of our property.

The flames were racing up hill towards us at an alarming rate.

We were even using buckets of pool water to dump on the brush near the flames.

It was scary.

(And yes, I do realize my golden retriever is smiling in the background of that photo.  I think he was thrilled with all the people running in and out of our backyard!  Not only that?  Firemen give lots of pets and ear rubs!)

It wasn't long until we heard sirens and soon our backyard was filled with firemen and fire hoses, and fire gear …  


The fire helicopter would fill up it's water tank at the lake behind our house and then drop the water on the flames.  At one point, the flames were racing up the hill toward us and we were really scared.  It felt like the fire would reach our house in seconds.


And then …

Water drop!

We all cheered.

(I even got a little wet during that particular water drop!)

The helicopter (fireman) pilot waved and gave us a thumbs up sign.

The above photo, one of 1,500 I took during the fire, appeared in The Orange County Register.

Arson investigators were on the scene very quickly.

Yes, arson.

Don't even get me started on the type of assholes who set fires intentionally!

We had an enormous crew of firemen at our house, and right BEHIND our house, for hours upon hours.  They built fire breaks, they cleared brush with axes and chain saws, they lifted heavy fire hoses through rugged terrain.

We offered to let them cool off with a swim in the pool (and margaritas), but apparently they're not allowed to play while fighting fires.

Go figure.

Even when the flames were out, they kept right on working until well after dark.


Firemen are heroes … absolute, badass, heroes!

© Twenty Four At Heart 

21 Responses to “Fire!”

  1. Pam

    Wow! Scary stuff, VERY scary stuff. But look at you, making lemonade: excellent photos! Well done. And I’m glad it turned out ok. Some men are the pits, eh – and others are the peak.

  2. Michelle

    “Firemen are heroes … absolute, badass, heroes!” Yes, they are.
    And I’m glad you were home and able to see the fire before it got too bad. Hope they catch the ‘hikers’.

  3. Serial Swooper

    Wow! Scary. I spend most of my time looking at your photos and your gorgeous home in the canyon and ENVYING you terribly.
    Not so much today.
    So glad everyone is ok.
    Firemen are incredible.

  4. WebSavvyMom

    –>Wow, that is very scary indeed. I’m glad you were home and not on the ball field (or at the beach) to call 911 in time.
    (Great photos, as usual too.)

  5. Di

    Jeez… I bet the entire neighborhood was freaking out! Hope your house was not smoke filled! Thumbs up for firemen and women and all that they do for us every day of the year. 4th of July is coming up and you have to know that it’s a busy week-end for them.
    Glad all is okay for you and you suffered no loss and may they find the idiots who started the fire.

  6. sandi

    It’s the one HUGE downside of where we live. We had a fire here in the Ladera on SUnday as well, So those guys who weren’t at your house, where just down my street. ALL. DAY. LONG! They really are heroes.

  7. Jan

    Have they determined it was arson, or just a couple of happy, thoughtless assholes who decided to pitch a butt rather than put it out and pocket it it?
    That had to have been one scary day, but you got some GREAT shots out of it – the ones of the water drop and firetruck are pure money. And firemen truly ARE heroes.

  8. Missy

    We had a very similar incident across the street from our house about 12 years with a couple of kids playing with fireworks post July 4th. Guess what the hillside went up in flames so fast and the arson team was here immediately. The kids lived right across the street from me and the whole family was in deep trouble and they had to pay for the cost of putting out the fire. I was so incredibly frightened so I know how you were feeling. I hate fires.

  9. Twenty Four At Heart

    Yes Jan, the fire was intentionally set – definitely arson.
    And Sandi, they got the call about a fire in Ladera while they were here so I knew that was going on too!

  10. gina

    What a story, 24! I cannot imagine your fear…and your faith.
    I am so thankful the professional firefighters were able to save everything for you and your family. This post is a fine tribute to them.

  11. Jack @ TheJackB

    Glad that everything worked out for you. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with being nervous about a nine minute wait. I have been evacuated from a forest fire and have seen how fast the flames move.

  12. Karl

    Wow, glad it worked out okay. Some amazing photos…the helicopter shot is particularly cool to me. Glad you and yours are all right.

  13. Linda

    Wow! Assholes (who set the fire) Glad you are OK! great pics!

  14. Anne Gibert

    An exciting story that ended well and spectacular photos! We had a fire here on the island in the store, caused by electrical problems. The all volunteer fire department responded in 5 minutes and saved a business essential to the good island life. Hooray for fire fighters everywhere!

  15. LPC

    Classic, wonderful, killer 24 At Heart post! I wish more dramatic events put themselves right in your backyard. But no more fires. I think you should photograph beauty contests or something:).

  16. Amy_in_Stl

    They are heroes. Our city has been cutting their wages and did some poor investments of the fire pension fund; so they’ve been threatening to lay off people. People here think they just sit around all day; which doesn’t quite explain why my boyfriend always comes home exhausted and dirty. He’s still hot….And yet still my boyfriend won’t bring his turnout gear home.

  17. karen

    Well thank the powers that be, you didn’t get torched! UGH!!!
    Firemen are awesome, brave people.

  18. Judi

    Fires scare me more than anything else. It was hard to even read your post and see the pics. So glad you were home and everything is OK.

  19. Deidre

    badass and foxy.
    How scary. I am so relieved to hear everyone is safe and the fire didn’t do too much damage.

  20. Pam

    I am so sorry! And I’m so glad they got there with so many firefighters so quickly! Wow, that had to be scary!!


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