Working in favorable conditions, firefighters from the LA County Fire Department quickly snuffed out a fire that erupted atop a bluff near Las Tunas Beach on Saturday night, Oct. 17.
Initially, public information officers from the department stated there was some difficulty getting to the source of the flames due to its precarious position on the bluff, which nearby resident Lloyd Ahern described in a later phone call with The
“Guys had been crawling up—by themselves—up that hill, mind blowing to me,” Ahern said, before a hook and ladder truck arrived. “They were coming at the fire from behind and they were coming at it from the front with the hook and ladder.”
Ahern, a member of his neighborhood’s fire brigade, was one of about five members who immediately set to work hosing down homes in the area to help avoid sparks from the fire causing damage—together with scores of other neighbors readying in case the fire picked up.
“Everybody was out, and everybody had their garden hoses ready,” Ahern described. “I mean, there [were] probably 75 people out on the street, the whole neighborhood was out.”
Pacific Coast Highway was closed in both directions from Big Rock Drive to Topanga Canyon Boulevard on Saturday night due to the first-alarm grass fire, which burned between one half and one acre as of 9 p.m. Saturday.
Conditions were described as “very light winds” with a slow rate of spread, according to fire department reports from the time.
“It was a miracle,” Ahern said. “The grace of God—there was no wind. If the wind had been happening, we would have lost 10 houses, minimum. It took the fire department eight to 10 minutes to get here; we were all in action wetting the houses down.”
Once the LACoFire Department was able to attack the flames, Ahern said, it was a quick process: “They don’t screw around. They’re great—they’re like linebackers running the ball.”