‘Are we going to have to bail?’: Homeowners’ fear as Fresno wildfire narrowly avoids neighborhood

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FRESNO, California (KSEE) – A giant plume of smoke and flames sent nearby businesses and homeowners out into the streets to watch the situation unfold Thursday.

George Lucas watched from his front yard in the Woodward Lake community as the brushfire at Friant Road and Rice Road erupted.

“We just saw this huge plume coming up and then the winds blowing like crazy and it’s coming toward the houses and we’re thinking ‘Man, are we going to have to bail out of here?'” he said.

Lucas said there are many houses in the neighborhood with shake roofs which could easily go up in flames.

At the nearby River View Shopping Center Kevin Yu, a tutor, said he saw and smelled the heavy smoke and the commotion delayed students from leaving.

“When students are about to leave their parents begin to call saying that they couldn’t because they were stuck in traffic and we had like seven or eight students stuck in the building,” he said.

Bob Sullivan said several concerned customers reached out as to whether or not his restaurant, Starving Artists Bistro, would close. It did remain open and he said his biggest concern was losing power.

“We were worried that if the power got affected we would definitely be out of business for the night and then worried about refrigeration and things like that, and so the normal concerns. And then also, it’s hard enough having employees as it is and then to have to tell them ‘Hey I might not be able to keep you working tonight,'” he said.

Lucas said given the show it provided, he’s thankful crews were able to get a handle on the fire before it reached any homes.

“There was people everywhere on the streets watching it because I mean the smoke was just huge and it was blowing across [the road],” he said.

There were no reported injuries or damage to homes as a result of the fire.

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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