Woman Who Lost Her Home In Blaze Believes People Not Evacuating Helped It Happen

SAN FERNANDO (CBSLA.com)  —   A San Fernando homeowner is hoping other people faced with fire heed evacuation orders.

She and her family believe that the devastating losses she suffered — including their home — might have been avoided.

“I just grabbed my laptop and purse and jumped in the car with my dogs and ny daughter,” said Linda Sherdel.

She and her daughter, Samantha, stopped by a Red Cross truck for some basic supplies. Almost everything they owned is gone.

“We had a stainless steel refrigerator and there’s nothing standing, no walls, everything is just ash,” Sherdel said.

Images from what was her home just south of Sunland Boulevard, tell the story.

“We thought we were safe that it was going to Burbank. The wind shifted again to come back to the area,” Sherdel said.

The Sherdel family said they first saw the flames approaching early Saturday morning. They called the fire department and were told to leave.

But after waiting for hours, and there being no fire, they said they came back home Within 30 minutes they saw the glow again and firefighters chasing it.

“They said leave we talked for a second. And he said no — leave now!” she said.

Sherdel believes that stern warning saved their lives.

Within 15 minutes the house was overtaken by flames. And in their corral, two horses.

“One of the fireman helped him down the road,” Samantha said. But the other horse was so spooked by the flames she injured herself and had to be put down.

As devastated as this family is by their loss they hope its also a lesson to other families who live in evacuation areas.

“Listen. When the firefighters come they know what they are talking about,” Sherdel says.

And as Sherdel watches other homeowners staying put and trying to defend their homes, she gets frustrated because she knows that happened on her street, too.

“they didn’t want to leave,” she said, “they were slow in evacuating so they delayed the fire people getting to our house.”

She doesn’t know if everyone evacuating would have saved her home, but she hopes telling her story saves someone else the loss.

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