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Volcano Fire: Homeowners Thank Crews for Sparing Home

A couple who left their home west of Murrieta as the "Volcano Fire" crept closer was able to return hours later to a house still intact, thanks to fire crews.

Doug and Irma Brenn were filled with anxiety Wednesday as the that broke out west of Murrieta crept closer to their home of 12 years.

"Had we lost the house it would have been financially devastating for both us," Doug said.

Fortunately, both were home when the fire broke out just after 11 a.m. in the hilly terrain of the Santa Rosa Plateau.

"We were watching it for about an hour; it was a good 1,000 yards away and I didn't think it was going to come up over the crest," Irma said. "But when it did we decided to load up our three cars and our computers."

The couple, who have a son, voluntarily evacuated their home and took what belongings they could to safer ground.

Fast forward five or so hours, and their anxiety turned to gratitude when they returned to find their home on Valle Vista still intact.

"We are very grateful," Doug said.

Standing in the driveway of their spared home, the couple shook hands with firefighters from CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service.

"The fire came right up to our concrete but they saved it," Irma said.

It was a familiar scene across the Plateau area, as crews saved home after home. Most of the properties in the area are estate homes that sit on at least five acres.

At one point, more than 300 firefighters from neighboring agencies such as the Murrieta Fire Department, Pechanga Fire Department and Palm Springs, were on the ground battling the blaze.

Ironically, the Brenns thanked the Riverside County Fire Department for citing them 10 years ago when their brush was not cleared far enough away from their home. It was a lesson learned, Irma said, and ever since they have maintained 100 feet of defensible space around their property.

Hot spots still smoldered down slope from their home, and in the distance the remains of the Snyder home——could be seen.

"All we lost was a couple of old oak trees, but they lost everything," Irma said.

Barbara Chapman August 03, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Thank you to the Fire Departments for helping save as many homes as they could. Just a note, the oak trees may survive. Give them a year to recover as fire burns off the leaves but the tree itself may be alright. Let us all know with postings if there is anything the Snyder Family needs. Thank you! Your friends and neighbors in Murrieta :-)

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