LOCAL CALIFORNIA

Multiple fires are raging in Southern California. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed hundreds of structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days.

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Sylmar fire

A veteran mailman delivers letters to Kagel Canyon — but instead of the familiar landscape, he finds the Creek fire’s wreckage

Carlos Angulo, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier, wound his way up and down Kagel Canyon Road, familiar by now with the neighbors — many of whom work in the film industry — who line the street.


Except on Thursday, the street was lined with charred trees, melted playground equipment and destroyed homes — casualties of the Creek fire, all. 


Angulo, who has worked this route for about 13 years, pulled up outside of the ashes of one home.


He greeted the owner and another resident by name as he handed them their mail.


“I’m going to hold the mail for you in the office until you find a place or something,” Angulo told the woman, who saw her destroyed home for the first time since she evacuated.


“They’re like my family, I see them every day,” Angulo said. “It’s very sad.”


The woman who had received Angulo’s delivery was visibly shaken as she looked at what was left of her home. She declined to be interviewed by The Times. 


Outside her home, another neighbor, Mathew Trippler, introduced himself and told her how sorry he was. His home, a little further down, survived.

 
“It [her home] went the first night?,” she asked him.


He told her he thought it had. She told him she’d woken up to red windows on Tuesday. 
“I hope my cat got out,” she told Trippler.


Residents heard from the fire department that 10 homes burned in Kagel Canyon. 


Although not all of the neighbors know one another’s names, they all tend to help in times of need. They hold monthly community meetings at Dexter Park and share information on a Kagel Canyon Facebook page.


Lately, the page has been filled with posts from residents trying to find ways to reach their homes, after police set a hard closure. 


Wood Grigsby never left. He focused on putting out spot fires and  checking on his neighbor’s properties. 


He picked up his three-year-old grandson, Nathan, on Wednesday afternoon and brought him to the house where he’s lived for 10 years. 


Nathan was upset that his father and grandfather did not call him to help put out the fire. Nathan, who  dressed as a fire captain for Halloween last year, wants to be a fireman when he grows up. 


On Wednesday, as soon as he reached the Kagel Canyon home, he grabbed his mini fire extinguisher that expels water and headed out with his grandfather to see what he could douse


Wood got his grandson the two mini extinguishers for Christmas, because he knew Nathan would quickly wear one out. 


As he walked around again Thursday, Nathan pumped the extinguisher and aimed his stream of water at the ashes of a nearby home. 


“I’m putting out the fire,” he told his grandfather.


“You’re putting out the fire? Good job,” he told him.


“Hey look, it’s all out now,” Nathan cried out.


Wood said, “It’s all out now.”

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