Monday, November 21, 2011


My neighbor's house
Thursday night I went to bed just like any other night. Around 2am my dogs started barking. Mr. Bee started telling them to be quiet, and as he said that I looked up at my skylight. It was bright orange. I've been through the Malibu fires and the San Diego fires and I knew exactly what that meant. I told Mr. Bee to open the shades and as we looked outside we saw our house completely surrounded by flames. There were fire engines in the street, people running around yelling, and people knocking on doors to tell us to get out immediately.

The electricity was out so we grabbed out cell phones and wandered downstairs to find the dogs leashes and the cat carrier. The house was filled with smoke and all I could hear were people yelling to get out. I was able to find my cat Olivia, but couldn't find my other cat. I somehow found superhuman strength and literally threw the guest bed against the wall to find my other cat before we had to evacuate. At one point I started freaking out and my husband firmly told me, "I need you to pull yourself together." After that I was fine. I didn't know how I was fine. I talked to myself out loud and said, "Katie, everything is ok. God, please watch over us." It was like a mantra.

We had 10 minutes to get everything out. Mr. Bee managed to pull the garage door open so I could get my car out. I grabbed my jewelry box, my photos and my laptop. I had somehow gotten my Ugg boots on, a pair of jeans and a black shirt. I didn't have time to take anything else.

Where I walk my dogs
We got all the animals in the cars and started driving down the hill. I looked back at my house thinking it would be the last time I ever saw it. And I didn't care. I had my husband and my animals and I didn't care about anything else at that time. There was fire everywhere and people everywhere. I started calling my parents as I drove down the hill. I don't remember what I said, but it must have freaked them out.

I called Mr. Bee and told him we should go to one of the hotel properties I work for which is pet-friendly and one town over. We got there and checked in, then watched the news until the dog daycare opened at 6am. After dropping off the dogs we both went to work. Working just seemed like the best thing to do.

On the other side of my house
Since I work for a hotel, I was on the phone with our director's, TV stations, and the Red Cross all day long. I didn't really have a break to process what had happened. Every time the news came on I looked for shots of my house on fire. They finally put out a fire map and things didn't look good. We spend the night in the hotel (not that we slept) and around 12 the next day we were allowed to drive up the hill to see if our house was still standing.

Everything was completely charred as I drove up, and then I made a left on my street. There were four houses across the street from me that had completely burned. All that was left was the frame. The owners had just driven up to what was left to their houses. I burst into tears. I turned the corner to my cul de sac and saw my house was still standing. I broke down in my car and cried until my husband got there too. Our front door was open and we walked inside to see that everything was still intact. There was plenty of smoke and ash, but everything was still there. I was astounded - so grateful and so sad for my neighbor's that lost everything. There is no rhyme or reason why my house is still there.

Thank you all for your prayers, texts and tweets, they meant the world to me.

Here's a quick video of my house and where my neighbor's houses burned. Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.


  1. I am so glad you guys made it out safely and that your home was saved. I cannot even imagine how scary it would be to wake up to a fire like that! Just your timeline of events scares me. Wow. Sending lots of prayers to the families whose homes were lost. xo

  2. I've been thinking about you guys so much. I'm so thankful you're safe. So scary- I can't even imagine how it feels to be back home and seeing all the damage around you. Hope you'll be able to get things back to normal soon.

  3. That's so scary but I'm so glad you and your house are ok. How heart-breaking for your neighbours though, can't even imagine what they're going through.

  4. Wow. There are no words. I am so happy for you guys, but so sorry for your friends and neighbors.

  5. i'm saying a prayer right now for your neighbors, and for you!! such a scary thing, i'm glad your home and things are okay, but more importantly that you and your family are too!

  6. I saw your tweets and I was so scared for you! I can't imagine. Praying for all of you.