Around 11 pm I was trying to go to sleep and I noticed that there was a bunch of smoke in my room. I was like, "what the heck is going on?" And then all the lights went out.
We looked outside and there was smoke everywhere. I went downstairs and called my mom. Right when I was in the middle of the phone call, somebody banged on our door really loud. I was like "what the heck?" I answered it and it was my neighbor. I never met him before, actually. He just said he was my neighbor, and he was like, "I live down the street. Hopper's on fire. You guys gotta go now ‘cause the fire's right around the corner." And when I looked at him, [I could see] it was true. It was all red to the right of him because of the fire. And the wind was going crazy. That's when I knew, ok it's on.
So we just booked it. I noticed a bunch of cars were passing by but none of them were honking. So I was like, I'm just gonna honk to let people know that this is real. So I just laid a good horn for like a minute, yelled at my neighbor to go, and then we left.
At first I didn't believe what was going on. My dad kept calling us and saying, "yeah, your house is gone. Coffey Park is gone." I was like, "what do you mean it's gone?!" Basically I was in denial until I was listening to KZST. Around 12 am, 1 am [they] started reporting where the fire is heading, where it hit and whatnot. Around 7 am when we were heading south they were saying, "If you live in this area of Fountaingrove, it's gone. If you live around Coffey Park, that's gone. Kmart's gone, blah, blah, blah." That's when it really hit me, oh my gosh! It's gone!
That's when I believed it. I cried for a little bit then I was like, ok, it's over [laughs]. I mean, it took about, I want to say, two weeks...two, three weeks ‘till everything completely ended. In between those times, I had waves of purging, releasing and coping. But I definitely want to say that my family and I are a lot better than we were when this first happened and, yeah, we're just gonna keep on getting better cause that's all you really can do.
I definitely wasn't prepared enough for this situation, for a fire. Ultimately, I didn't think it would happen to us. And when it did, it didn't make me feel alone because we're not the only ones experiencing a worldly crisis. The whole world is being shaken right now. It was this whole community. I'm just glad that we're not in it alone because I feel like it would have been a lot harder that way.