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Hasn’t everyone wondered: “What would I do if trapped in a fire?” “What decisions would I make?” “Of course, I would be the one to escape because I am calm in emergency situations.”
Many of us have been taught in grade school, by parents or firefighters how to escape a fire. It is surely good advice.
As Producer of the “Escape” program on the Cedar and Paradise fires, I interviewed over a dozen people who survived the fire. What I learned is that in this situation, where people were suddenly overwhelmed by an enormous fire – one factor in determining who lived was “luck”.
In some cases, survival was a split-second decision to make a right at a particular road rather than a left. Or instinctively making a U-turn at a point on the road while everyone else continued straight ahead.
Nearly everyone we spoke to said they felt it was a miracle they survived. They feel they’ve been given a second chance at life. The fire changed how they now live their lives.
Unfortunately, 17 people died in the Cedar and Paradise fires. More than 10 years later, we remember them today.
A local San Diego group is building a memorial to the victims and survivors of the 2003 Cedar fire.
For more information- you can visit their website www.sdfirefoundation.org