Sayre Fire destroys hundreds of homes


They had heard the news. They believed it. And yet in Sylmar Saturday morning, the people who used to live in the Oakridge Memorial Park still had to come back and look.

"If my house was there I would be able to see it," said fire victim David Gried.

500 homes in what used to be a neighborhood were laid to waste. All that could be found was the aftermath of an inferno that began Friday night and burned into the morning.

Gried called the fire a "nightmare."

"It was like hell on earth. Embers flying, landing on rooftops and trees. We didn't stand a chance," he said.

The blaze was so fierce that in certain places firemen dropped their hoses and moved back. The fire was so hot it molded a motorcycle to the ground.

The Sayre Fire in Sylmar began around 10:30 Friday night. It burned like a blowtorch, pushed along by near hurricane-force winds.

Winds were so strong Saturday morning air crews had to wait before going in.

Smoke has blanketed the San Fernando Valley. The fire has caused power outages and closed roadways, including Interstate 5 and State Highway 14.

In Sylmar the fire department moved in and locked the place down, describing it as a possible crime scene. They're looking for a place of origin and signs of arson.

For those in Sylmar the damage is already done.

"My mom just passed away and now my house burned down. Maybe buy a lottery ticket. It can't get much worse," said Gried.

Of the 6500 acres that have burned in Southern California, most of the damage has been in very rugged terrain in the Angeles National Forest.

Interstate 5 was reopened just after 4 p.m. Saturday.

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