Scripps Ranch Civic Association
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10/27/2003
 
I previewed the aftermath late Sunday afternoon from the safety of a patrol car. We can only hope that there are no flare-ups and the fire departments from all over the county were successful in cleaning up hot spots. Our hearts collectively sank, as there were street after street of total devastation. There was animated response and great relief as good news was delivered. But it was harder to find the words to tell those we know that what they had was horrifically lost. The inability to find the words only matched that of the emptiness felt by those who are suffering.

As of Sunday 8 pm: in Loire Valley, the primary losses were Rue Finisterre (24 out of 36) and Rue Riviere Verte (a few). Two on Rue Vincennes and one on Rue Cannes are terribly gone forever. By the grace of God, many families were fortunate to have missed the furor of the flames. I awakened three neighbors from their usually restful Sunday morning sleep with wild pounding on their doors and instructions to leave within literally minutes and with what they had on.

The winds and ash were swirling like the motorcycle officers blowing in and out of the area looking for as many as possible to leave. The look of our neighbors’ eyes were that of stunned disbelief. The surreal scene could not be removed from your half-sleep minds even if they closed their front doors and wished it not be so. When we evacuated, the flames were on two sides and cresting over the hill in a wall of red angry heat. I did not believe by the time that we got to Pomerado Road that there would be little left of my home. Fortunately, it is ok so far.

Chantemar faced several hits along Rue Chamberry at the top of the hill and along Fairbrook Road east of Rue Chamberry. Whispering Ridge sustained massive losses on Fairbrook, Oakfort Place/Court (all), Thornbrush Court (all), Pinecastle Street (all but one), Meadowdale Lane (all but two), Walnutdale Street (all but two), Grainwood Way (all but 3-4), Spruce Grove, and Kingspine Avenue. Birch Bluff had many homes, but Barrywood and The Arbors apparently escaped unharmed. There was one on Rue Marabelle and a couple on Sienne Nord, and three houses along Rue Chantemar near Fairbrook.

Sunday night I saw firefighters attempting to save adjacent homes next to a raging home fire on Rue Cheaumont near Rue Chantemar. The last two homes along Rue Biarritz's south end did not survive. I have nothing that I could say about Crown Pointe as the gates were closed. The area between Pomerado Road and the northern homes was burned and I could not see whether any homes were lost. Alliant International University (AIU) around the new middle school site was spared and it looked as if the rest of the campus was doing okay.

Some storage containers along the UCSD property at the top of the hill were engulfed and burning by themselves. Chabad Hebrew Academy's portable classrooms are gone and the new classrooms were being doused by its own fire sprinkler system. The Miramar Marines were entering the site to do what they could to control it as I was leaving. Legacy, Huntington, and Versante were not touched by this tragedy.

Many homes along Pomerado Road’s northern reaches were lost with the most near Handrich, Medoc Court, Claret Court, and Avenida Magnifica. The officer and I did not take a count because of our initial exposure and awe of the losses.

A police officer I met yesterday had a pair of shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, a badge, and gun. His home burned on Oakfort but he was at work and doing his job with the greatest professionalism. There were at least nine other officers yesterday who lost their homes and were at work helping others.

As I sit at my office desk this early Monday morning, I wait for the sun to rise to see what can be done for those who lost and to pray that more do not have to bear the same suffering. I hope that those who lost will have the strength to find their way back home.

Sincerely,

Bob Ilko, Scripps Ranch Planning Group