'People's Life Savings': Residents Lose Homes to Sand Fire - NBC Southern California

'People's Life Savings': Residents Lose Homes to Sand Fire

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    The Sand Fire has consumed 18 homes in three communities since Sunday. Marin Austin reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, 2016. (Published Sunday, July 24, 2016)

    All Tim Geiser has left are the tools in his truck.

    Since the so-called Sand Fire erupted on Friday in Santa Clarita, it has consumed 18 homes across three communities. 

    Tim Gieser stayed behind at his home as the 51-square-mile wildfire spread and fire authorities ordered mandatory evacuations. 

    "I wanted to see if I could save something," he said.

    He lost family photos and the good memories that went along with them to the fire, he said.

    Despite structure protection crews equipped with 15 fire engines working to protect four homes on Sand Canyon Road, the homes were lost to the erratic blaze.

    Geiser isn't just feeling the loss of his home, but those of his neighbors' homes too.

    "It's pretty bad. It's a lot of these people's life savings. It's a nice, serene place to live," he said.

    At first, Geiser didn't think the fire was going to reach his home.

    "The Forestry people came back and said, 'Hey it looks like it's burned past and it's moving away from us,' but something changed," he said.

    Geiser is no stranger to fires and added that things can change in a matter of seconds.

    He came back to the property to make sure nothing else happened, traversing a rock-littered roadway, to shut off propane tanks that were left behind.

    Darian Thomason, a resident of the Robinson Ranch area, watched as the fire crept closer to his home as he sat parked in a nearby golf course parking lot.

    "I wanted to see what was going to happen with that fire, to see if it was going to jump across the street to my house or that house," he said.

    Even though he wouldn't be able to do anything to stop the flames, he said it would have been for peace of mind and to be able to tell neighbors if their houses had survived. 

    Thomason had patrolled the neighborhood, checking on people's houses, checking for locked doors and for damage. 

    He was not alone, as neighbors came back to their home, trying to save valuables.

    Mickey Peterson, visiting his son from Europe, came back for his passport and other items. He had to walk four miles to get to the home, since fire authorities were not letting people back into the area.

    "We had our passports and other things so we had to come back for them," he said.

    Despite the fire, he said didn't think it would cut his vacation short.

    "It's what happens here, but it got pretty rough last night," he said.

    Get the latest from NBC4 anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android