A 325 acre grass fire near Keating Park caused a major scare for residents in the area Saturday. Many went to voluntary evacuation centers to stay away from the flames.
"At this particular time in my life, being homeless is not something I want," resident Vivian Poe, said.
She is a breast cancer survivor, just finishing up her radiation treatments. So when the hill behind her home went up in flames, she knew she was in trouble.
"To the left, the hills were just covered with flames. Just flames everywhere," Poe said. "I have issues where my lungs are weak, and so I felt it necessary to get out because of all the smoke."
City officials said the fire began at around 9:30 pm. At that time, the fire was only about 5 acres. Within an hour, it had grown to 100 acres. They said the extremely dry brush and the high winds were what sped up the blaze.
Crews issued voluntary evacuations to residents living along California Drive. Poe left for the Three Oaks Community Center immediately.
"When we left it was like being in a horrible fog, where you couldn't see your hand in front of your face," Poe said.
Richard Derfuss and his family had just finished watching the city's fireworks show downtown. But he came home to an even bigger blaze.
"The grande finale wasn't a really good grand finale... It was scary. Absolutely scary," Derfuss said.
For him, this was dejavu. He still remembered the 1991 fire that destroyed the same area.
"It brought back memories. A lot of scary memories," Derfuss said.
He grabbed his garden hose and began spraying the roof, fences, yards, and back yard, as embers came onto his property. And it worked.
"I would say it came within 50 feet of our house. I mean, it was hot," Derfuss said.
Emergency responders from almost a dozen agencies helped contain the 325 acre, 5 alarm fire. At its peak, more than 135 fire fighters were on scene.
By 6 am, all evacuations were lifted, no one was injured, and no structures were damaged.
To the residents who could have lost everything, emergency crews were the true American heroes on this patriotic weekend.
"To Vacaville fire and all the surrounding areas and Vacaville PD, thank you so much for saving our house," Derfuss said.
"Everyone is okay, so we are all just very blessed. We really are," Poe said.
Crews are still investigating the cause of this fire, and are not sure if this was illegal fireworks-related. But Vacaville City officials remind us that buying, selling, and igniting fireworks in the City of Vacaville are illegal.