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Report from End of Tunnel Road

Residents and Firefighters Battle Flames All Night to Save Homes from Jesusita Fire


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Last night, with 100-foot flames surrounding their small neighborhood of homes at the end of Tunnel Road, the Lindemann family - with the help of firefighters and uncle Walter Shirk and cousin Cody - tapped into a neighbor's swimming pool and fought back the Jesusita Fire. When the firestorm finally blew through hours later, the Lindemanns' home at 1470 Tunnel was still standing, along with three of their six close neighbors.

A likely evacuated, private residence on Tunnel Rd. steers fire fighters to a source of water
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

A likely evacuated, private residence on Tunnel Rd. steers fire fighters to a source of water

So reports Erika Lindemann, daughter of Albert and Barbara, brother of Tim, who was not able to reach her family's home by the time roads were closed on Tuesday. "We've been preparing for this moment for the past 30 years, and we've always had a plan," she explained from her home on West Valerio Street. "But with 100-foot flames around your house for over an hour, it's a pretty intense experience. I don't think anyone can emotionally prepare for that."

Erika said that her uncle Walter, a firefighter, and cousin Cody came up from Santa Monica to help battle the blaze. Her brother Tim, a well-known glass-blower whose studio is on his parents' property, was equipped with fire extinguishers, which he used to put out spot fires all day and night, including some embers that started to burn his studio. With the help of firefighters and a neighbor's swimming pool - which gave them a source of water and pressure - they were able to keep the flames away. All of the other neighbors had evacuated.

Erika, who had spoken with her mother earlier this morning, said that it was hard to tell which homes beyond their cluster were saved or burned. It was too smoky to see across Mission Canyon, though there were reports that the homes at the very top of Mission Canyon Road had been saved. It appeared that Spyglass Ridge and Holly Road, however, had taken it pretty hard.


View Jesusita Fire map in a larger format (current as of 9pm, May 10)
Click on icons or colored areas to get further info

UPDATE: According to Erika, who just spoke with Tim, the following properties on Tunnel Road are confirmed saved: 1470, 1460, 1450, 1427, 1458, 1440/1444.

When the firestorm approached, the Lindemanns set loose their two donkeys, Polyanna and Angelina. Polyanna has returned, but not Angelina. If anyone has info, please email Erika at eglindemann@gmail.com

On Orange Grove, two houses burned, but the rest are standing.

The fire burned all the way up Cathedral Peak, all the way up the power lines, and across the olive orchards on Mission Canyon, and into Rattlesnake Canyon.

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