FRAN DICIOCCIO HILLMAN
Read Franīs documentary about the
desperate situation when fire takes over
and there is nothing to do but run for
THE CALIFORNIA BLAZES, SAN BERNARDINO,
As it turned out, it's a good thing I didn't
go to the ONA October 25, 2003 reunion.
You may have heard about the fires in
California. Well, on the day of the ONA
reunion, 10/25, we had the start of a
really bad fire right here. We live right
at the base of the mountains.
We came very close to the possibility of
losing our home in the fires.
They spread to the North side of us and on
the East side. Right behind our home is a
great big open area, which is called the
wash or flood control. You can't see it
from our backyard because of trees and such
which act as a barrier.On the other side of
the wash is where hundreds of homes burnt.
John and I didn't know how close we came until
we took a walk up on the wash a couple of days
later and saw for ourselves.
Then we drove up to 40th St. which is about
8 blocks from here, and saw that the fire had
actually jumped the street and had started on
our side of the wash. One of our neighbors
from that area told me that there were about
150 people watering down the homes and trees,
etc. up there with hoses and running bucket
brigades from pools putting out fires. So, I
really believe that these people saved us and
our neighborhood. It has been a very hot and
dry year, so if the fire had caught on our side,
it would have just come up to our home and beyond.
The smoke and wind were very intense. Can't even
describe it. We were told to evacuate. The police
came through, door-to-door telling us we had to
leave. Can't even begin to tell you what that felt
like. What do you take? We loaded our cars, which
included the animals, started down the street, and
then decided to turn around and come back.
Why,because they blocked all the surrounding streets
so, once you were out, they wouldn't let you back in.
We backed the cars in so we could make a hasty getaway
if we felt in eminent danger. (Now, remember, we had
no idea it had gotten that close!) So, praise God
because He protected us and our neighborhood.
So, you see, if I had gone back for the reunion and
then started hearing the news about what was happening
back here, I probably would have been a wreck!
Greetings from Francesca