Wildfire Destroys Homes in Southern California

Elderly woman missing as fire moves into Calimesa

 

Firefighters try to protect surrounding homes as they battle the Sandalwood Fire in the Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park in Calimesa, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Burning trash dumped along a road sparked a wildfire Thursday that high winds quickly pushed across a field of dry grass and into a Southern California mobile home park, destroying dozens of residences. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP)

 

By STEFANIE DAZIO AND CHRISTOPHER WEBER Associated Press

CALIMESA, Calif. (AP) — Don Turner’s 89-year-old mother was missing Thursday night after a wind-driven wildfire sparked by burning trash swept through a Southern California mobile home park, destroying dozens of residences.

Lois Arvickson called her son from her cellphone to say she was evacuating shortly after the blaze was reported in the Calimesa area, Turner said while with family members at an evacuation center.

“She said she’s getting her purse and she’s getting out, and the line went dead,” he said.

Arvickson’s neighbors saw in her garage as flames approached, according to Turner. A short time later the neighbors saw the garage on fire, but they don’t know if she’d managed to escape, he said.

Riverside County fire officials said they’re still trying to determine if anybody is unaccounted for after 74 structures were decimated.

Firefighters battle the Sandalwood Fire as it destroys homes in the Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park in Calimesa, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Burning trash dumped along a road sparked a wildfire Thursday that high winds quickly pushed across a field of dry grass and into a Southern California mobile home park, destroying dozens of residences. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP)

Previously authorities said they responded to “numerous” medical emergencies at the park. Several residents were transported to hospitals but there were no details on their conditions, county fire Capt. Fernando Herrera said.

Turner said he’s been checking hospitals.

Fire danger is high throughout California after the typically dry summer and early fall. The high temperatures and winds predicted for inland areas of Southern California materialized mid-afternoon Thursday, when the driver of a commercial trash truck dumped a smoldering load to prevent the vehicle from catching fire.

Dry grass quickly ignit