Students, teachers evacuate homes


In the past month, hundreds of Los Angeles residents were evacuated due to the numerous fires that have attacked Southern California.

Helicopters flew over communities ordering mandatory evacuations while nearby firefighters tried to contain the flames.

Dean Rose-Ellen Racanelli was evecuated because of the Mountain Gate fire on Oct. 23.

“Driving down Mountain Gate road with flames on either side felt like I was going through a tunnel of fire.” Racanelli said. Racanelli ended up on Skirball bridge she said and watched the fire consume the mountain with others.

“My son eventually found me and I ended up at his house at 4 a.m., where I slept for an hour before getting ready to go to work,” Racanelli said.

Countless others were evacuated due to fires that consumed more than 15,000 acres in just the past month.

Math teacher Beverly Feulner and science teacher John Feulner were evacuated due to the Marek fire on Oct. 13.

They slept at school in Weiler Hall with one of their cats.

“It is hard to decide what to take and what to leave behind,” Beverly Feulner said. “We couldn’t catch one of our cats and I felt terrible leaving him behind, but I was pretty sure the house would not burn down. The hardest part was not knowing.”

However, evacuees were thankful to the firefighters.

“I do have to say thanks to the great work of the fire department, neither homes nor lives were lost,” Racanelli said. “It was also comforting to run into [Dean Vanna Cairns’ husband] Jim Cairns, outside my home who is a fire chief, who assured me that the fire was under control. Somehow having a friend who was in charge made me feel better.”

Katrina Zandberg ’10 was evacuated because of the Porter Ranch fire on Oct. 13, which was not a new experience for her.

“We are evacuated due to fires almost every year,” Zandberg said. “Although it is always scary, we knew what to expect, had all of our important documents in a fire-proof safe, pictures on CD’s and carrier crates out for all of our pets, so we could just pick them up and go if it got really bad.”

“My parents stayed at home because we have firefighter hoses, as we live in a pretty remote area that the firefighters can’t always get to,” she said. “Because I had gone to school that morning, I couldn’t get back in, so I stayed at a friend’s house.”