When Stacy Reardon learned that the flames of the Rye fire were nearing her 4-year-old daughter’s school in Santa Clarita, she jumped in her car and raced there.
But when the usual one-hour drive from her work in Sherman Oaks turned into a 2-1/2 hour drive with flames sometimes within 10 feet of her car, she started to panic.
“I was crying all day,” Reardon said.
As she crept up Rye Canyon Road toward Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School, gray smoke filled the air.
When she neared the school, she told a police officer who had blocked the road that she needed to go pick up her daughter.
“He let me go through but told me drive slow because of all the smoke,” she said.
About one minute away from the school, Reardon said the flames were so intense that her car began to overheat. Ten feet away, the shoulder of road was engulfed in flames.
She parked her car and walked inside the school, shaking.
“The school supervisor saw me crying and told me my daughter was fine. But I felt bad because she was one of the only kids left,” Reardon said. “I was so thankful the teachers stayed with her. They were texting me and telling me she was safe.”
Finally reunited with her daughter, Rowan Reardon, she breathed a sigh of relief. As she followed the news of the wildfire raging through Ventura, the last thing she expected was that a similar situation would erupt in Santa Clarita.
“I told my husband last night that there was a fire in Ventura,” she recalled. “But I didn’t expect one in Santa Clarita.”