By Kara Vaporean
As the Freeway Complex Fire spread to 47 square miles of Los
Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties last week,
many were forced to evacuate as they began to watch neighboring
houses go down in flames.
Nearly 850 homes were destroyed by this fire and 100 homes
partially damaged, including 113 in Yorba Linda.
“The fire began in Corona by the 71 freeway,” said Steve Brio,
an Anaheim fire captain. “A supposed vehicle was leaking exhaust
that fueled the flames to multiply.”
Residents of the Green River community in Corona had little time
to get of their homes on Nov. 16.
“I was in the shower when my mom kicked open the door. She said
we need to leave because there’s a fire,” said Mike Kinnison, a
first-year finance, real estate and law student. “I said, ‘What the
hell?’ [I] grabbed my clothes and ran.”
Kinnison said his family was mandated to evacuate their Corona
home around 9:30 a.m. He only had time to grab his clothes and a
few personal belongings.
Although Kinnison did not lose his home, ten houses in his
neighborhood burned down.
“There was no smoke damage to my house, but it still smells like
smoke, said Kinnison. “There was smoke damage right next to the
houses that burned.”
Kinnison’s family and neighbors evacuated to the local shopping
center and Corona High School until they could return to their
“I couldn’t go home for a day,” said Kinnison.
By Sunday night Kinnison and his family were able to return
Whitney Shryock, a fourth-year business administration and
international business and marketing student, was in San Diego at
the time the Freeway fire spread to her home in Corona.
Shyrock’s family had to evacuate Saturday morning.
Shyrock said she thought her house was going to burn down, but
when she was able to return Sunday evening everything was still
“My house did not actually burn down, but a couple of my
neighbor’s houses did,” said Shryock.
Alumnus Geoff Tumang of Yorba Linda, was mandated to evacuate
his home late Saturday morning. His house survived the fire, but
his backyard did not. His house backs up to the hills, which are
covered by dry brush.
Santa Ana winds made the job difficult for firefighters to keep
the flames from spreading. Spot fires kept surfacing, which caused
the fire to spread west before it was contained.
“The fire spread from Corona to Anaheim in three hours,” said
Brio. “Wind and fire are not a good combination.
According to an LA Times article, many residents who live in
Orange County knew of their fate because they live along the Santa
“The fire just moved too fast,” said Orange County resident Mike
Chene in the article. “It was a mile and a half away, then 30
minutes later it was on us.”
FIRE VICTIMS RECEIVE AID
Erik Christiansen/Poly Post
Fires impact students
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