Residents feel the heat of brush fire

Ryan Carter

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

to disaster.

"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


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