Amanda was sitting here on the couch, watching TV. I was cooking, as usual. See how all those big trees are like that? No matter how high up you looked, all you could see was fire. You couldn’t see anything. My daughter was so freaked out that she couldn’t move. And Mike kept trying to get her out of the house, he actually picked her up and like tossed her. It wasn’t so much what you could see at that point, it was the noise. The noise was so loud, it was deafening. You couldn’t hear yourself, let alone anyone else. It sounded just like a plane crashed in our backyard.
We were trapped. When you’re in a dream and you’re trying to run as fast as you can, but you feel like you’re getting nowhere like you’re in quicksand? That’s how it felt. No matter how fast or how hard you tried to move, the house just kept sucking you back in.
And then when we got down the walkway, Joe came running up. He had no skin. It looked like he had a shredded t-shirt, but it was the skin all melted off him. His face was all white. You could hardly see features. In fact, he still had smoke coming off his entire body. When he tried to open the door to get in, he couldn’t. Because his hands were so badly burned.
That was like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I ran stop signs, stop lights, I made left turns through red lights. But I’m telling you, God drove, because everyone parted waters for us to get him there.
You know we can’t use our street anymore. So every day that reminds you. Even if you think you’re going to forget it, you’re not. And the sound of all the construction; you know it’s people who’ve lost their homes and are rebuilding. But you can’t forget it. You’ll never forget it. You may learn to deal with it, but you’ll never forget the sounds, and the smells, and the rest. You just can’t.
Here's an eyewitness video of the conflagration, from the files of the National Transportation Safety Board: