SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) — Nine homes were damaged or destroyed when a fast-moving brush fire erupted in a San Bernardino neighborhood Monday evening, as firefighters worked overnight to get control of the blaze amid windy conditions and steep terrain.
The 17-acre Little Mountain Fire broke out before 5 p.m. Monday in the area of West 39th and North Severance streets, with heavy winds and dry brush quickly pushing the fire towards homes. Some residents gathered up their belongings and fled, while others stayed behind and tried to battle the flames with water hoses.
“My wife was in the shower and got out of the shower and saw the flames and smoke against the windows,”homeowner Fred Shorett told CBS2 Tuesday.
There is only one way in and out of the neighborhood, which created a challenge for fleeing residents. Multiple power lines went down in the area and had been de-energized. Several people had to be rescued from their home and a family of four, including two children, had to be hospitalized with minor burns and smoke inhalation. Two firefighters were taken to a hospital with moderate injuries.
Nine homes were damaged, three of which may have been destroyed. About 40 homes were threatened at the fire’s height.
“My whole driveway is just full of all the rubbish and stuff from the neighbor’s house, their roof caved in,” one man told CBS2 as he was evacuating.
The fire was 80 percent contained as of Tuesday morning. However, mandatory evacuation orders remained in place Tuesday for all homes on Edgerton and Skylark drives. The evacuation could last through Wednesday because there is no power in the neighborhood. Fire officials told CBS2 they would like to wait until Southern California Edison can get power back on before allowing residents to return. A temporary shelter was established at Cajon High School.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department reported that crews spent the overnight hours putting out hot spots and combing hillsides to ensure the fire did not pick up again. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s helicopters were assisting with water drops.
The cause and origin point of the fire are under investigation, but it was said to have started in the brush and moved toward the homes.