All Lorne and Joan Morton wanted to see was home. After two months of vacationing in Southern California and Arizona, they pointed their 19-foot travel trailer in that direction--toward Victoria, British Columbia--and pressed the pedal to the metal.
But at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on the Riverside Freeway in Anaheim, metal hit metal, as the Mortons' travel trailer became part of a five-vehicle pileup in the westbound lanes.
By Tuesday night, the Mortons--and the neighbors they had been traveling with--were still vacationing, this time in Anaheim Fire Department Station No. 5.
"We kinda befriended them," said Anaheim Fire Capt. Bob Hirst. "Since they were out of transportation and lost their house on the road, I gave them the number of the station. They called later on, and we talked to the guys at the station, and they said, 'Heck, we've got plenty of room, come on over.' "
The Mortons and their neighbors were comfortably snoozing in the firehouse bunks by 10 p.m., while Anaheim's finest lounged on chairs.
Details of the accident were sketchy. According to Hirst, the Mortons braked rapidly to avoid a compact car that changed lanes in front of them, but slammed into the car anyway, which slammed into the camper pickup truck driven by the Mortons' neighbors just ahead.
Five cars were involved in the pileup, and Anaheim police evacuated five nearby homes temporarily when propane began leaking out of the Mortons' fuel tank.
"The photos of the accident, you wouldn't believe it. It looked like a bomb went off. Just total devastation to their travel trailer," Hirst said.
The compact car that intervened between the two neighbors? "It's a super-subcompact now," Hirst reported.
Luckily, no one was injured. An Anaheim paramedic unit, fire company, battalion chief and several Police Department units went home.
The Mortons are headed that way today. As soon as they find some wheels.