viral videos

The Good, The Bad, The Mesmerizing: NBCLA's Top Videos of 2020

2020 was a year unlike any other in recent history. With the pandemic, millions were thrust into a new work from home lifestyle, along with odd trends and bizarre grocery shopping habits. 

Aside from the pandemic, here’s what you were watching the most on

1. Large Bear Raids Cooler at California Campsite

Is that you, Yogi?

Surprisingly enough, viewers couldn’t get enough of this very, hungry bear scrounging up a snack -- feet away from campers trapped in their tent. 

An Orange County family went camping in the Mammoth Lakes area high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They happened to bring along steaks and Longganisa, a homemade Filipino dish.

The family had just arrived at Twin Lakes Campground and started to unload when they heard the blare of car alarms.

See the interaction below with the gentle giant.

A camper says this bear came back three times in a search for food. Video broadcast Friday Oct. 16, 2020 on Today in LA. Credit: Leah Estrella

Read the full story here. 

2. The View From the Silverado Fire's North Side

This was certainly an amazing moment caught on camera by an NBCLA photographer.

Alex Vasquez was covering the closure of a section of the 241 Freeway in the Irvine area. 

He shows how the flames are being driven in real-time by the wind, eating up the hillside and pushing toward homes. 

Video shows smoke and fire on the north side of the Silverado Fire. Video from videographer Alex Vasquez.

In another unbelievable moment caught on camera, Vasquez captured flames rushing up the sides of the 71 Freeway where the Blue Ridge Fire was burning in the Chino Hills area. He was caught under a water drop, live on TV.

Don't worry! NBCLA photographer Alex Vasquez is OK, and getting off the 71 Freeway near the Blue Ridge Fire where he was just drenched in a water drop. Flames were once again jumping the freeway, which is shut down right now.

3. OC Restaurant Open Doors, Fills to Capacity Despite State Orders

In May, some business owners in South Orange County said "enough is enough" and reopened despite California's Stay-at-Home order.

The owner of Nomads Canteen in San Clemente said he reached out to city and county officials to let them know he was going to reopen and that no one stopped him.

Small businesses in San Clemente are opening their doors without permission from the county. They worry that their businesses will be unable to survive if they continue abiding by state orders. Rick Montanez reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 3, 2020

Nomads was full to capacity not long after the doors opened.

Read more here.

4. “Paul? It’s Bob Wilson,” he said. “You’ve won the Nobel.” Doorbell Camera Captures Moment Paul Milgrom Learns of Nobel Prize Win

This story not only had a lot of brains, it had a lot of heart as well. 

The Nobel Committee in Sweden wasn’t exactly aligned with California time when a big announcement came for two Californians won the Nobel. 

It was the middle of the night, and when the committee couldn’t notify Stanford professor Paul Milgrom, fellow winner, Robert Wilson, felt like it just couldn’t wait til morning. 

Luckily the exchange was caught on a Ring Doorbell camera. 

See the 2:15 a.m. exchange below.

Stanford professor Paul Milgrom's Nest doorbell camera captured the moment his neighbor and fellow winner, Robert Wilson, alert him of their Nobel Prize win.

And read the full story here. 

5. Lake Elsinore Man Died of Coronavirus After Going to Party

It’s a heartbreaking cautionary tale in the era of coronavirus. 

Lake Elsinore man Tommy Macias took to social media to complain of feeling sick, and to express regret after attending a party with friends weeks before. He got a call from someone who had attended the party saying they were positive for COVID-19, and he should get tested. 

Just days later, Macias died in the hospital. An official from the Riverside County Office of Vital Records told NBC News on Wednesday that Macias died from COVID-19.

His family said Tommy Macias died hours after being admitted to the hospital. Kim Tobin reports June 30, 2020.

"This is no joke," Macias wrote on Facebook the day before he died. "If you have to go out wear a mask and practice social distancing."

"Because of my stupidity I put my mom and sisters and my family's health in jeopardy," he wrote. "This has been a very painful experience."

"Hopefully with God’s help," he added, "I’ll be able to survive this."

Read the full story here.

6. Glowing Dolphins Put on a Mesmerizing Show Off Newport Beach

Blue bioluminescent streaks snaked through the waters off the coast of Newport Beach one night in April, and the mesmerizing magic was caught on camera. 

Biolumenescence was in spectacular effect when dolphins glowed through the water off the Southern California coast. Video broadcast Friday April 24, 2020 on Today in LA.

Add glowing dolphins to the mix, and you have an unforgettable video. 

Read more here.

7. Intense Burbank Explosion Starts Fire at Burbank Power Station

It’s like something out of a movie, but it’s just Burbank, California. 

An explosion rocked Burbank April 10, sending a fireball into the sky over the neighborhood near the 5 Freeway. No one appeared to be injured, but power was knocked out in the surrounding neighborhood. 

A fire was burning at a Burbank power substation near the Empire Center and 5 Freeway after powerful explosion April 10, 2020.

Read more here. 

It wasn’t clear what caused the explosion. 

The cause of the explosion that literally shook the Burbank neighborhood is still unknown. Jonathan Gonzalez reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2020.

8. LAPD Releases Body Cam Footage of Violent Boyle Heights Arrest

The shocking April 27 arrest of Richard Castillo was caught on body-worn cameras and released to the public in an edited YouTube video a month later, drawing criticism. 

LAPD Chief Michel Moore says the video likely won't change public opinion about a violent arrest. Eric Leonard reported on NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Castillo was arrested outside a church in Boyle Heights, and during the arrest, one of the officers repeatedly punched the man in the head. In the video Castillo can be heard saying, "Ain't nobody fighting," as he stands facing the church fence with his hands behind his back. "You keep on manhandling me I'm gonna f*** you up!"

Read more about the case here.

9. Fire Burns Large Warehouse in Redlands

Up in flames, like a lot of things in 2020.

A 600,000-square-foot warehouse in Redlands burned to the ground near a freeway in Redlands June 5. 

A morning fire tore through a warehouse in Redlands. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 11 a.m. on Friday June 5, 2020.

Video showed at least two Amazon shipping trailers on fire at one of the sprawling building's loading docks.

Read more here.

10. More Victims Come Forward Saying Woman in Torrance Targeted Them in Racists Rants

A couple more people had come forward with videos in June after they recognized a woman seen in a viral video berating a young woman working out on the stairs at Wilson Park in Torrance, California, telling the woman to "go back to whatever ... Asian country she belongs in."

A 42-year-old Torrance father, who identifies as Asian-American and wished to remain anonymous for fear of his family's safety, shared a video with NBCLA showing who he says is the same woman seen in the other viral video. She is seen yelling at him, while the father's 11-year-old son sat inside their car, and could hear everything.

Torrance police later held a news conference and identified the woman in all videos as Lena Hernandez, 54, a Long Beach resident. A case was presented to the city attorney to determine if she could be charged with a crime. 

While she was not charged in connection with the racist rant videos, she was eventually sentenced in connection with an assault at Del Amo Mall. 

Read more here. 

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