SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) — Homeowners returned to a Sand Canyon neighborhood Monday night, days after the raging Sand Fire tore through the area.
For some like John Kim, returning to the area meant picking through the remains of his home.
It marked his first look at the charred remains since fleeing the fire, which has now scorched 55 square miles.
“The fire came from that side, like a big wave, all at one time,” said Kim, who shot video before escaping.
He, his wife, and daughters all made it out safely and were able to rescue some family photos and heirlooms.
But much of his home was reduced to rubble.
“I’m not OK but again what could I say? The only thing … we pray harder. And I’m sure that we’re gonna be OK,” he said.
Kim’s neighbor died in his car trying to outrun the flames.
The victim was identified Tuesday as Robert Bresnick, 67.
He lived on the property with a woman, who was too distraught to speak. Their home also burned to the ground.
Kim says the man who died went back to rescue his dog.
“Boyfriend went back to bring the dog and cellular phone and so on,” he said. “Then, he couldn’t make it.”
Other neighbors came out unscathed. But flames came within just a few feet of David Garcia’s home.
“It wrapped around our whole home. So, our home luckily still stands but to see the flames the way that they did, they wiped out the whole valley,” he said.
As of Monday night, a hot spot was visible inside what remained of Kim’s home. Crews were on-scene.