How to Help Those Affected by SoCal Brush Fires

‘This Whole Situation Is Overwhelming,’ Says Calabasas Man Who Saw Neighbor’s Home Burn

When the sun rose through the smoke on Friday morning, Tyler Turquand thought his Calabasas neighborhood had made it safely through the devastation of the Woolsey Fire.

That changed within minutes.

Relative calm became chaos. Flames jumped from a ridgeline to the land above homes across the street from Turquand's own.

"A gigantic wall of flame" came down and began eating into the homes along Parkmor Road.

"I couldn't get out of here quick enough. I thought we had a little more time, and I was wrong," Turquand said.

He fled, returning hours later with his wife. Blocks away from their home, they encountered another man. Turquand's wife, crying "in hysterics," and asked if he knew the fate of their home.

The man thought the home was still standing but was surrounded by flames. Turquand and the stranger raced up the street together.

Turquand clambered onto the roof and began spraying down the eaves and the shingles with a hose. He called out to nearby firefighters, "Is this ridiculous? Am I an idiot?"

No, the firefighter responded, but "when we run, you run," Turquand recalled.

He never had to run, but what had to stay and see – that's what made his voice crack Friday afternoon.

"It is absolutely heart-wrenching watching your neighbors' homes across the street from you all burn while you're fighting for your own home," he said.

By afternoon, across Parkmor Road all the remained was a blackened mess of beams surrounding a still-standing chimney. Turquand's neighbor's home was gone. It was one of at least seven homes destroyed in the neighborhood north of the 101 Freeway.

Two framed photos showing young boys, one clutching a soccer ball, leaned against a low brick wall around the home's front yard.

The firefighters had pulled them from the garage, Turquand said.

One of the boys in the photos, now a college student in San Francisco, grew up with Turquand's son, he said.

"They fled, like we did, and he has no idea that his house did not make it. I am devastated for him," Turquand said. "This whole situation is overwhelming."

Turquand then crossed the street, embracing another neighbor in front of his driveway.