Moraga Fire: Residents rush to evacuate during PG&E power shutoff

ByJobina Fortson via KGO logo
Thursday, October 10, 2019
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Moraga residents who had to rush out of their homes due to a wildfire overnight said evacuating in the dark was difficult.

MORAGA, Calif. (KGO) -- Some Moraga residents are now able to return to their homes following an evacuation due to the Merrill Fire burning in the hills near St. Mary's College early Thursday morning.

RELATED: PG&E power outages impact 359K customers in Bay Area

The fire has burned 40-60 acres and has been contained.

Californians know the signature orange glow anywhere. It's happened too many times to take a chance.

"I felt it," Lev Stephanov, a Sanders Ranch resident, said. "I felt the smoke."

"The first sound I heard, it sounds like a freight train," Lynn, another Sanders Ranch resident, said. "It really does."

Dozens of residents in Moraga, living south of Saint Mary's College, were surprised to find themselves in the parking lot of an evacuation center at 3 a.m. Yes, there was high fire danger, but PG&E shut off the power hours before the flames erupted.

Evacuating in the dark was difficult.

"That was the worst part," Lynn said. "I kept flipping on lights trying to get things."

Lynn had to get her 92-year-old mother out of the home as well.

"This fire came out of nowhere," Han Ying said. "I don't know. We're still wondering right now."

PG&E OUTAGE TIMELINE: When your power could come back

The fire burned somewhere between 40 and 60 acres and threatened homes. Residents are frustrated. Who or what is to blame? Did PG&E's new move of killing the power make a difference?

"The cause is under investigation," Dave Winnacker, Moraga Orinda Fire Chief, said.

That's the best answer we can get to those questions right now.

There was no serious damage and no one was hurt during the fire. Residents of Merrilll Circle like Adrian and Julian Luder sat in an evacuation center without power for hours. The two missed school, but they got McDonalds from the Red Cross. The brothers enjoyed it with a big smile.

For the latest stories about PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.