Karen Kwan-Holt, 49, stood near Ventura High School at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, watching her neighbor’s house burn — a victim of the brush fire plaguing the area.
Kwan-Holt and her husband, Steve Holt, along with their two children, ages 9 and 10, live in a 3,000-square-foot home that sits on a hillside in Ventura, providing a view of the ocean.
On Monday evening, the family packed up precious items such as family photographs and their guinea pigs, Guinea Penny and Gert.
Steve Holt moved into the home in 1992, when it was a small house. He rebuilt on the land, constructing the family’s home.
Kwan-Holt has called their house home for the last 17 years, the time she has been married to Steve Holt.
“It’s a house that was built with love,” she said.
Kwan-Holt watched the tree between her neighbor’s home and her home catch fire.
“We’re just hoping for the best,” she said.
Tom Weaver, 73, of Ventura had just finished putting some suit coats in the back of a van.
He and his wife Tina, 73, and their son, Blake, 37, were evacuating their home near Main Street in Ventura. Nearby, homes burned on a hillside.
Weaver said he wasn’t sure where they would go once they evacuated.
“Don’t know,” he said. “We’re designating a parking lot to meet at. From there, I think it’s breakfast and chit-chat [until] we can go home.”
Water gushed down North Laurel Street as firefighters worked to put out a flames at the Hawaiian Village Apartments. About 4 a.m., the building continued to collapse as the sound of propane tanks bursting filled the air.
Residents were scattered across North Laurel with cameras and cellphones, watching the fire take the building.