How to Help Those Affected by SoCal Brush Fires

Woolsey Fire Leaves Homes Destroyed in Calabasas Neighborhood, Residents ‘Stunned’

A washing machine standing alone, the walls that once stood around it burned to the ground. A see-through dining room, surrounded still-rising smoke, charred vegetation and pools of water. A pickup truck charred in a driveway, apparently ready to evacuate.

Those are the sights along Parkmor Road in Calabasas, north of the 101 Freeway.

Within a few hundred yards, at least five homes appeared destroyed or seriously damaged by the Woolsey Fire, though many were spared – seemingly randomly. Firefighters were still working Friday afternoon in the wreckage of the neighborhood. Fire engines, red lights flashing, lined the curving street.

One young man on a bike, wearing ski goggles and a face mask, said he knew many people who had lost homes. He gave his name as Michael and said he grew up in the area and lives a few blocks away from Parkmor Road.

"This is the third fire I've seen since I've lived here in this area, and I've never seen them touch the homes," Michael said. "Most of the time people here don't panic too much, but ... it took off pretty fast."

Many people tried to stay around and protect their homes, despite a mandatory evacuation order, he said. Some had apparently tried to hose down their residences.

"They're protecting their baby. You work pretty hard to buy a home and ... own a home in here. So I feel for them." Michael said. "A lot of these people have lived here forever. It's a shame, it's really unfortunate."

Another neighbor, returning home for the first time, said she was "stunned" by the state of the street.

Her husband had returned and hosed down their home. He saved the house, said the woman, who gave her name as Kathy. The home across the street was still in flames, but the owners had gotten out safely, she said.

Early Friday morning, there was no power in the neighborhood and her cellphone had gone dead from receiving so many text messages – so she got no alert to evacuate, Kathy said.

"Everybody was for themselves," Kathy said. "This whole thing was red, just coming at you."