PCC students and faculty were forced to evacuate their homes due to the Santa Anita fires.After burning over 580 acres of forest, the fires reached a level of containment on Tuesday, allowing those who were evacuated to return home.
The fires, which began on Saturday afternoon, affected at least two students and one faculty member.
“At midnight, the whole side of the mountain was glowing red. It’s hard to explain unless you were there. The best way to put it would be terribly awesome,” said Nicholas Klotz, 20-year-old photography major who was told to evacuate his home.
Living just North of Grandview, Klotz had enough distance between his home and the fire to avoid extreme worry. “I live close enough to Grandview and there was still enough space between the fire and me that I didn’t have to worry quite as much, though seeing humungous flames at the side of the hill is pretty unsettling,” he said.
According to Klotz, during times such as these, it is important to “try and find some little activity to take your mind off it as soon as possible.” Though he was worried about his grandmother who stayed home, Klotz went to work Saturday morning, allowing himself to take his mind off the fires.
Below Grandview was where firefighters drew water to help fight the fire.
Ryan Oliveira, another PCC student, was also evacuated from his Woodland Drive home.
“The police announced mandatory evacuation at 3 p.m. [but] the fire never reached the house,” Oliveira said.
Never having been evacuated, Oliveira said that being displaced did not affect his schoolwork at PCC. Offering advice to those who are ever caught in these types of situations; he said, “I have never been evacuated. If you ever find yourself near a wildfire don’t worry. Fires are scary and you should take every precaution to seek shelter.”
PCC Professor Russell Di Fiori was also evacuated from his home, Saturday at midnight.
“We lost the only building destroyed in fires (the outbuilding) which was our chicken coop and stable,” he said, referring to the damages caused by the fires. Also his first time being evacuated, Di Fiori said that the fires have not really affected his work at PCC. “I’m very tired this week, but otherwise the show goes on,” he said.
Offering his own advice, Di Fiori said to stay calm, follow directions and use common sense. “Take some time when there is no emergency and ask yourself what would I take in an evacuation and then pack those things or put them in a place where you can get them fast,” he said.
While only a few members of the community were evacuated, others on campus still felt the attects of the fire.
Alex Terrones, 19, undecided, said that the pollution caused by the fires had negative effects on her eyes and her breathing. “It’s totally not healthy, at least not for an athlete,” said Terrones, who is a runner.
Di Fiori, who lives in the Corum Ranch house on the largest single property in Sierra Madre, was grateful to all firefighters who helped put out the fire. “I just want to say what an incredible job the firefighters do and how much we all appreciate their hard work and sacrifice. [A] special thanks to the crew from the Pasadena Fire Department who worked on my property,” he said