Dr. Eugene Karpus doesn’t remember feeling the heat while trying to rescue his home.
On Friday, as firefighters scrambled to get hold of the fast-moving Woolsey fire, the 59-year-old and a handful of others worked as a team to defend their corner of Bell Canyon in eastern Ventura County.
Karpus, a psychiatrist, worked with fellow neighbors — including a medical courier, a neighbor who recently had brain surgery and a financial officer who works at a local university — to protect their homes, using shovels, axes and water hoses usually used for gardening.
They had no fire training, but they were armed with ferocious determination. Karpus’ logic for staying was simple: “Obviously all big fires start with a small [one],” he said.