The Thomas Fire
by Patrick J. Treacy
The Thomas Fire started on the Fourth of December two thousand seventeen. It became the largest Venturans ever had seen.
The Santa Ana winds were hot and strong, and swiftly moved the fire along.
Soon the canyons roared as trees buckled and swayed, houses were burning and crashing down and soon in piles of rubble lay.
Embers and cinders were flying hundreds of feet in the air, then raining down like thunder, showers of red hail, spreading the fire at a speed that was rare.
One lady died in her haste to get away, as thousands were ordered to evacuate and were rushing to centers where they would be safe.
The famous Poinsettia Pavilion was about to succumb to the flames. Its caretakers Hector Andrade, Joanna Bondina, and Hector Junior, their son, decided to stay. They battled all night and all of next day, ignoring the burns and the blisters. They battled with hoses and shovels and spades, as the soles of their shoes partly melted away.
And that is the stuff of which heroes are made. The prize for their efforts-the Poinsettia Pavilion was ready for business next day.
The inferno on the mountain was a ferocious sight,
It looked more like a day time invasion of bombs and smoke
than a mountain fire on a winter’s night.
The billowing smoke was a crazy red,
And nerves were shaken with fear and dread.
Animals were seen on the city streets hopping with pain on tender feet.
It was a challenging night for the elder, the weak and the frail. Their young caregivers seemed anxious, nervous and pale.
Years of collections were lost on that night, Like old photos of grandparents holding their kids. Some lost photos of ancestors returning triumphant from war, While others lost photos of loved ones returning in caskets draped with old glory after giving their all.
Firefighter Cory Iverson died doing what he and all firefighters and police officers
do every day, risking their lives, others to save.
This young patriot died for the love of his family and commitments in life
He conquered his fear and died while on duty fighting the fire.
The Thomas Fire burned for forty days.
It caused death and destruction along the way. Property worth billions of dollars were lost to the flames.
The brush and the fuel will grow back again. The Santa Ana winds will always return. Without new regulation, when conditions are right, more houses will burn.
Keep it simple- remove all the brush, dead wood and dry fuel
a safe distance from homes then the fire cannot feed.
Update the homes in the forest to be resistant to heat,
then all wildfire tragedies in Ventura and California will all disappear.
With all of the agencies working as one,
soon Ventura will all be restored, this beautiful city between mountains and shores.
Many Thomas Fire survivors lost all their priceless belongings.
They have all disappeared like the smoke in the air and the glow in the sky.
Leaving an ache in their heart until the day they will die.