Teresa and Scott Sligh were packed and ready to go, just in case,
Monday afternoon. They joined many others on the Burbank/Glendale
border who were evacuated or ready to bolt from their homes as a more
than 800-acre fire torched the dry brush of the Verdugo Mountain
hillsides around them.
"You could smell the smoke inside the home," Teresa Sligh said as
she walked away on the road from her Wilson Court residence. "And you
could see flames up on the side of the ridge."
After his wife called, Scott Sligh, a physician at Providence St.
Joseph Medical Center, canceled his appointments and rushed home to
find the smoke billowing above.
"I said, 'My gosh! That's right over the top of my house.' "
The Slighs, like others near the fire, packed pictures and files
and other important items. Some watered down their homes. Others
stood on their roofs surveying the damage.
As huge flames lifted up from the hillside and large water
dropping choppers circled through the sky, authorities evacuated 33
homes near Thurber Place and Via Alta. American Red Cross shelters
were set up at the Glendale Civic Auditorium and McCambridge Park.
Inside a room at the park, several volunteers stood ready with
food and refreshments for the evacuees.
"We anticipated a lot of people to be coming in here when we got
here," said American Red Cross Disaster Family Services North Area
Director Ron Sekulich.
But by shortly before 4 p.m., no one had shown up.
Between 4 and 5 p.m., the blaze, which for a while seemed to have
calmed, flared into Burbank, Fire Marshal Dave Starr said.
The Burbank emergency operations center was activated at its
temporary site at the Burbank Police/Fire Headquarters.
It didn't appease Vazgin Sardarian, who watched from a street at
the base of the foothill as smoke loomed over his Burbank home just
below a large water tank.
"We've been there only three months," he said with worry.
But by late afternoon, even as police continued to block off
several foothill streets, and hoses and fire engines crisscrossed Via
Alta and Thurber Place, residents realized just how close they came
"It looked like a volcano," said Ron Sherwood, a voluntary
evacuee, as he described the monstrous smoke that billowed above a
ridge near his home, where he was working on a music project. "I went
Others were reminded and mindful of the potential of danger living
near a dry hillside.
"I was scared," said Adele Cornils a resident on the Glendale side
of Thurber Place. "I never realized we were so close to the