FONTANA (CBSLA) — A fast-spreading wildfire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in the Fontana area has damaged at least four homes and forced hundreds of people to flee.
Sonia and Jose Ceja ran for their lives with just one box.
“Wedding photos? baby photos? None of that,” said Jose Ceja, a homeowner. “Just paperwork like passports and birth certificates.
Sonia suffered burns on her arms trying to grab all of their pets as their dream home went up in smoke.
The South Fire was reported as a vegetation fire near Lytle Creek and Duncan roads at 1:36 p.m., according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
As of Thursday morning, the fire had torched 680 acres and had no containment, per CAL Fire. Four homes and 14 outbuildings have been destroyed.
About 600 homes were still threatened and 1,000 residents remained under evacuation orders. At least six homes were damaged or destroyed in the wildfire. The fire was also threatening high voltage transmission lines.
Mandatory evacuations were issued for Lytle Creek Road, south of the Ranger Station, west of Sierra Avenue, north of the 15 Freeway and east of Duncan Canyon to the foothills.
A shelter in place order was issued for residents in all areas north of Lytle Creek Ranger Station on Lytle Creek Road, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
An evacuation warning was issued for homes north of Glen Helen, east of Sierra Avenue and Lytle Creek Road, west of the 15 Freeway.
Some neighbors decided to stay behind. One man was seen on the roof of his home with a garden hose trying to save it from fast-moving flames.
“I came home and got the dogs,” said Laura Mills, a Lytle Creek resident. “Hopefully our house is going to make it.”
“It is quite a shock,” homeowner Christina Hernandez said. “We need to see what comes next. We’re still in the throes of this.”
Shelter in place –
Lytle Creek; all areas north of Lytle Creek Ranger Station on Lytle Creek Rd.
Evacuation order –
Lytle Creek Rd. south of the Ranger Station, west of Sierra Ave., North of the 15 Fwy., east of Duncan Canyon to the foothills
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) August 25, 2021
The fire is not far from the 15 Freeway, which remained open Thursday morning.
About 100 firefighters with SBCFD, Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service were battling the blaze with air and ground crews. One firefighter was transported to the hospital with a minor injury, according to Cal Fire.
An evacuation center has been established at the Jesse Turner Center at 15556 Summit Ave. in Fontana. An evacuation center for large animals has been set up at Devore Animal Shelter in the 19000 block of Shelter Way in San Bernardino.
CBSLA reached out to FEMA and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to see if victims of the fire were eligible for financial assistance. Both said federal and state aid isn’t available at this time because there has been no local emergency proclamation from San Bernardino County.
If you would like to donate to Sonia and Jose Ceja’s GoFundMe page go here.