Around 2 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, screams and commotion outside her house woke up the Mazullo family, who reside on the 130 block of Viento Way, in San Bernardino.
A quick peek at the window was enough to realize that immediate evacuation was necessary, as the rapid spreading flames of the Hillside Fire, had engulfed two houses across street.
“It was very scary, all I knew is that we had to leave. I grabbed a few belongings and took off along with my two kids. Huge embers flew everywhere, a palm tree next to my house caught fire, it became extremely dangerous very quickly,” said Mazullo.
When daylight broke, the Mazullos realized how fortunate they were. Their home was intact; however, two houses across street were completely destroyed.
“Everything is gone. A total loss. Luckily, there was nobody at home,” said Ken Defillipis, whose son rents the house located at 134 Viento Way.
In fact, the Hillside Fire, which erupted around 1:40 a.m. near Highway 18 at Lower Waterman Canyon, destroyed six houses and forced the evacuations of about 1,300 residents.
The second house destroyed on Viento Way belonged to Matthew Valdivia, 35, who along with his wife and two daughters, and a family dog, escaped the dangerous flames.
According to the San Bernardino County Fire Department, the fire sent at least one firefighter to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
Authorities reported that the approximately 500 homes threatened by the flames were saved thanks in part to the prompt response and the use of heavy equipment, like bulldozers, which are equipped with special tools to penetrate the ground and clear vegetation.
As of Friday, Nov. 1, the fire had consumed about 200 acres and was 70 percent contained. Both directions of Highway 18 were opened to traffic, Caltrans District 8 representatives said.
Investigators determined the area of origin on Thursday evening but had not determined the cause. The fire is still under investigation and authorities have rejected the possibility of power lines being responsible because there are none in the immediate area.