As firefighters tried to stop the flames, all Stephanie Snyder could do was watch as the "Volcano" fire destroyed her family home.
“This is the house I grew up with,” she said. “Myself and my brother, we grew up in this home.”
Snyder, 25, raced to the house from her job in Rancho Cucamonga after receiving calls from her boyfriend and sister-in-law.
“They said that La Cresta had a pretty bad fire, and my house was going to need to be evacuated,” she said.
Snyder parked at the bottom of Avenida La Cresta and could see the flames coming up over the hill. It was “deceiving” she said, because it didn’t look as though her house would get hit.
“It was scary,” she said. “I was super scared.”
Snyder could see the fire trucks in the driveway, and she spoke with her father, Rick, on her cell phone, reporting back to him what was happening.
“I saw the Palm trees go up, and it was confirmed our driveway was affected,” she said. “It looked like they were containing the house, and sprayed it with water to keep it cool. I don’t know, the winds may have picked up, something, and it billowed up and the house just slowly but surely started burning. They couldn’t contain it.”
According to Snyder, the firefighters were spraying water on the house as much as possible, and “I feel like they did everything they could,” she said. “I think it got too hot. Once it started, it didn’t look like it would ever get better.”
Although the family is safe, Snyder is worried about their cat, an orange male “mutt” with crossed eyes named Maddox.
“We can’t find him,” Snyder said. “We don’t know if he was retrieved. Cats are pretty resilient, so we are assuming he got away. We just don’t know where he’s at.”
Today will go down as “probably the worst day of my life,” Snyder said. All of the family’s pictures are gone, along with “everything we own and everything we’ve done.”
“It’s the only house I’ve ever lived in,” she said. “My family, my dad worked so hard. He gave a lot back to the community. We’re loving people; it’s a tragedy.
“It would help if we had everyone’s prayers. We’re going to stay close as a family and just get through this together.”
If anyone finds Maddox or has information on him, please let Patch know and we will contact Stephanie Snyder.
- Interview conducted by Daniel Lane; story written by Catherine Garcia