As evacuation orders lift, Fairfield fire evacuees recount their ordeal

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KGO) -- Evacuation orders were lifted Friday night for Paradise Valley and Gold Ridge neighborhoods in Fairfield, Calif., where a huge grass fire chased thousands from their homes.

Hancock Drive in Gold Ridge remained closed because of hot spots nearby. Hancock is the street where earlier in the day, firefighters made a stand, confronting the flames as they raced down the hillside toward Gold Ridge homes.

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"All my sprinklers are on, front and back, I did everything that I could do," said homeowner Ellis Dozier.

Dozier got his family to safety when mandatory evacuation orders came down.

"Everybody's out, everybody's gone. Wifey's not too far from us now," Dozier said.

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When asked why he hadn't left, Dozier said simply: "This is my house, this is where I'm gonna raise my kids. This is their future."

But others didn't stay. They packed cars and took off.

One rancher moved his cattle to a safer location as flames marched down the hill.

Earlier our cameras captured the fire moments after it started off Interstate 80. Within minutes it was fully engulfed, headed towards homes in Paradise Valley.

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Police told neighbors to go.

"They came to the house, told us to get out," said evacuee Christopher Smalls.

Bulldozers cut fire lines. And firefighters protected homes from flames.

"They told us we had to evacuate, so it's been an experience. This is our retirement home, I can't afford to have it burn," said evacuee Elizabeth Diaz.

Fairfield High School became an evacuation shelter. Residents of Paradise Valley retirement community made the best of a scary time.

As of Friday night the fire had burned 1000 acres and was 10 percent contained. One structure has been lost, Cal Fire said. What caused the fire is still unknown.
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