Standing at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, Bryant Lum, 56, watched as an entire hillside burned, flames whipping as they approached close to a dozen homes on Santa Lucia Court, just off Victoria Avenue.
Just on the other side, along Santa Susana Court, stood his home.
“I thought we were going to be safe,” he said.
Lum, who has lived in the Hidden Valley neighborhood for 15 years, said he, his wife and children were ordered to evacuate around 11 p.m.
Lum said he had to wake up one of his neighbors, who had fallen asleep and was unaware that the fire had reached their neighborhood.
As he watched from the corner, one home on the hillside started to burn.
By 4 a.m., he saw the flames reach Victoria Avenue, but the fire had not jumped to the other side.
Lum didn’t think the fire would come this far. He hadn’t even smelled smoke when the fire was two miles away. But then the winds picked up and pushed the fire to his neighborhood.
He said he felt firefighters were stretched thin because the fire was spread out. He worried that with no firefighters in sight, if the flames jumped Victoria Avenue, his home would be in danger.
But 10 minutes later, a crew had arrived and a helicopter made water drops.
It was unclear, however, whether Lum’s home and his neighborhood survived.
The fire destroyed well over 150 structures in Ventura, and that number is expected to rise dramatically.