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Fires ravage Inland Empire again

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By Megan Siana

Close to home (Khai Le)

By Megan Siana

The Santa Ana winds helped fuel another destructive fire, this time in the Inland Empire city of Corona.

On Nov. 15 Corona Resident, Michelle Grenowich heard the sound of a helicopter and sirens while in her home at the Green River Village, just off the 91 Freeway.

Grenowich said she went outside to see what the commotion was all about and she saw smoke to the north.

According to ABC7 News, a 1,000 acre fire was reported around 9 a.m. in the hills of Corona just along the 91 Freeway. About 3,100 homes were forced to evacuate as the fire consumed nearby structures.

The fire burned parts of the Green River golf course, and the hills and homes on the both sides of the 91 Freeway.

Throughout the day, the strong Santa Ana winds pushed the fire through the hills to Yorba Linda and hopped the 91 freeway, heading toward Brea and Anaheim Hills.

The 91 freeway, between Green River Road and the 71 Freeway, was ordered closed at 9:45 a.m. for the protection of citizens. Planes flew overhead, dropping flame retardant on the area, while firefighters attempted to save homes.

Grenowich said she sat with people along the Green River Road freeway off-ramp to watch the fires.

“I was there for an hour and a half and I watched at least three houses go up in smoke,” she said.

Grenowich said that many families and neighbors walked down the off-ramp carrying what few belongings they were able to salvage.

Some wheeled their belongings in red wagons or carried them in coolers. Some families were rushed out so quickly that they didn’t even have time to grab their pets. Friends and neighbors stood watching the flames, fearful for their own homes.

“I felt like I was in a war zone. It was sad,” Grenowich said.

Many teams of firefighters came together to control the catastrophe. Grenowich said that the Hemet, Corona and Moreno Valley fire departments rushed in to fight the fires.

Some young men even threw dirt on smaller fires nearby, according to Grenowich.

Grenowich also witnessed those who hadn’t lost their own homes comfort and offer shelter to those who did.

“It was amazing to see the community responding to this Catastrophe, it was heartwarming,” she said.

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