CALIMESA (CBSLA) — Fire tore through the ravaged community in Calimesa in literal seconds and many people weren’t able to escape with more than the clothes on their backs.
More than 75 lost their homes. At least one woman lost her life.
Micah Doney’s home burned to the ground. He’s lost everything in it — valuables, property, keepsakes, memorabilia.
But he told CBS2/KCAL9’s Nicole Comstock Friday evening that because his wife and two children made it out safely, “I just keep telling myself that my family is here, so, we’re good.”
He knows that the fire apparently killed an 89-year-old woman trying to flee. At least two other residents are not accounted for.
Friday, officials in Riverside County declared a local emergency for Calimesa. This allows for resources to come to the region as soon as possible.
This evening, dozens of people are taking advantage of a new emergency shelter that has been established. With so many homes destroyed, the need is great.
Doney’s wife was home alone with the children. She didn’t smell the smoke because the wind was moving the smell away from their home.
She was vacuuming and playing music and completely unaware of the fast-moving flames.
Thankfully, their neighbors Bill and Joy were aware of what was coming.
They banged on the Doney’s door.
“And she opened it like ‘What?!'” says Micah.”And they were like ‘Get in our car, now!'”
They had no time to save anything. Within minutes, they heard their home was gone.
“We had 15 minutes to spare,” Micah says. “and no one [would have] made it out.”
Doney says many people in Calimesa and Yucaipa have already reached out to his family donating clothes and toys.
A GoFundMe account was set up to the help the family. Click here for more information.
Meanwhile, Lois Arvickson’s family confirmed the 89-year-old didn’t make it out.
She was on the phone with her son and told him she was headed to her garage to get out. Her family confirmed that she died trying to escape the flames.