Just a very few Ventura Heroes

by Victoria Usher

Battling the fires in Ventura has been tough to say the least and one of those neighborhoods just south of Arroyo Verde was no different. The reason that the entire neighborhood didn’t burn was because of all the efforts of everyday citizens who were out there for more than 10-12 hours fighting hot spot fires all over the neighborhood. A few of those great citizens heroes were Eric Jarl (who stopped ten foot tall flames under his back porch at 4:00am after driving all night from Stockton), Mark Perry who helped knock down fence fires , Robert Washington and his friend Sean Ardouin and lastly George Brown.

Mr. and Mrs. Gene Dunn (suggested by Lyn Fairly)were driving around looking at the fire damage when they came upon a couple who were digging into the ruins of a burned-out motor home and horse trailer. The horse trailer was actually the man’s work shop, he was making jewelry as his business and they lived together in the motor home. Everything they owned including their business was completely lost in the fire. The trailer and the workshop contained gold, silver, jewelry, precious stones, pearls, and the tools needed to make the jewelry.

Their 10-year-old daughter’s toys that she’d bought for Christmas with a $100 shopping spree that she’d won with the firefighters were all gone because of the fire. Then on top of everything else they also lost their dog. Mr. and Mrs. Dunn, their daughter Patti, and their son in law William decided to spend the greater part of the afternoon helping them dig, rummage, and try to rescue some of that material and they were successful to a point. They gave them some cash for the night and directed them to the perfect place to ask for assistance and then both families exchanged their phone numbers. Mr. and Mrs. Dunn are Ventura heroes and they now have some new friends too.

Hooray for Hector Andrade, the Poinsettia Pavilion’s caretaker for more than 20 years. On Monday night, as the fire raced down Ventura’s hillsides, Hector, his wife, Joanne, and son, Hector, Jr., saw it coming and turned on the sprinklers, grabbed hoses and shovels and fought back the flames. With danger closing in, Hector refused to leave until the firefighters arrived. He stayed across the street and once they allowed him to return, he was back at it putting out hot spots and protecting the building throughout the night. We are convinced that if it were not for Hector and his family, the Poinsettia Pavilion would be nothing but a memory.

These are the unsung heroes you usually never hear about but if not for their efforts we would have lost many more homes. Also, a huge thanks to all the firefighters who did show up! I believe you saved a lot of Ventura. Hats off to these heroes!

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