Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sylmar Fire Destroys 600 Mobile Homes

With hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed in Los Angeles County, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency this morning as hurricane-like wind gusts continued to drive a raging wildfire across a large swath of the northern San Fernando Valley.

Evacuees from a mobile home park near Sylmar had their fears realized at a midmorning briefing by Los Angeles Fire Capt. Steve Ruda.

"Prepare yourselves for the worst," he told the crowd of about 200, using a megaphone.

About 600 of the 700 mobile homes in the area were destroyed, he said. He described devastated roadways, melted street signs and fire hoses scorched into the pavement in the Oakridge Park mobile home development. Evacuees sobbed as he held up a charred and tattered American flag salvaged from the community by firefighters, who Ruda said pulled sleeping residents from their beds to rush them to safety on firetrucks.

Suggesting that the fire may have been intentionally set, the Los Angeles Police Department today sealed off the mobile home park and declared it a crime scene.

The evacuees at Sylmar High School were among 10,000 residents were ordered from their homes as hundreds of firefighters used water-dropping helicopters, bulldozers and engines from across the Southern California to try to halt the erratic march of the Sylmar blaze as it hopscotched west and south toward thousands of homes.

By late morning, additional fires were burning in Brea, Rancho Palos Verdes and near Yorba Linda. A fire in Corona, where evacuations were ordered, destroyed or damaged at least seven homes.

In addition, a fire that began Thursday night in Santa Barbara County, destroying more than 100 homes, was only 40% contained this morning. Fire officials there warned that the Tea fire continued to threaten about 1,500 homes, and many neighborhoods remained under mandatory evacuation orders.

At the same time, the so-called Sayre fire -- which began about 10:30 p.m. Friday in Sylmar -- had scorched more than 2,600 acres. Authorities had no estimate of when even partial containment could be expected.

The major traffic corridors converging near the Sayre fire -- Interstates 5 and 210 and State Highway 14 -- were shut down as it jumped the freeways.

[More of the News...]

To take a look at the Sylmar Fire Map

1 Reactions:

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