Update: November 17th! Sounds like classes will resume at Westmont College Monday December 1st…
Update on Tea Fire as of 10:30 Nov. 16th!
By and large, last night was quiet and today, the fourth day of the Tea Fire, should see further recovery efforts by firefighters. So far, 1,940 acres have burned and 210 homes have been lost — 130 in the City of Santa Barbara and 80 in the County of Santa Barbara. Damage assessment is continuing
Looks like my nephew Caleb’s room was spared fire damage. Still need to assess the smoke damage.
Here’s a link to photos from Westmont from the fire. Just click here.
Update: Saturday 9/15 ~ I just received this email from my SIL whose 2 sons attend Westmont. They are preparing for taking in some of the students displaced because of the fires at Westmont. I’m sure there are more people who live in the Southern California area that will have extra students staying at their homes this weekend.
Everyone is fine, or as fine as can be. I’m expecting several carloads of kids to start arriving shortly. Everyone has been moved off campus until next Wednesday as they assess damages and decide where to move people around. There have been broken gas lines etc. so there is no way to keep kids there and to feed them. Caleb wanted to stay closer to campus yesterday in case he could get up to his dorm. His section is one of the ones that burned, but he’s on the bottom floor and there is a chance some of his stuff survived. We’ll see. They hope to resume classes late next week, some of that will depend on facuilty…since so many lost homes. The President is making an announcement Monday night…I guess then we will learn how long we will have houseguests for:)
We are praising God that no one was hurt. With the speed it whipped through those neighborhoods it’s amazing everyone got to safety. Caleb said they were expecting an earthquake drill that day so people didn’t automatically respond to the fire alarms. He heard people calling that it was a fire, so he walked out of his room…saw the flames on the hill…went in his room to get his laptop…and by the time he got out there were already flames at the edge of campus. He’s at the farthest end from the gym and said people were hurrying by then and when they got to the gym they already had embers landing on them and the trees around them. Once everyone was accounted for they sealed up the gym and let the fire run through…they could watch it through the glass doors at the front of the gym. After about 5 hours or so, the worst had passed and they let people out to get provisions from the DC of water and muffins etc. By about 1:00 they started letting people with cars at the gym leave campus so Levi left with his girlfriend who had been there for a PE class, but Caleb opted to stay with his suitemates. Yesterday they were figuring out who was from out of state and didn’t have anywhere to go and were dividing them up…
It was also College Preview Days, so there were extra high school students on campus…I’m sure that was pretty scary for them. Luckily many of the homes that burned are second homes and people weren’t there. There just aren’t very many roads out of the mountain so it’s hard to move quickly…that’s why Westmont built the firesafe gym, without a fair amount of lead time they would never have gotten all the cars off the mountain. The worst losses were the faculty homes, some of them friends of ours. So sad. Several of the other buildings that burned were slated for demolition anyway, as the school is int he midst of a building program. Caleb said most of the trees and gardens survived, and it didn’t look as bad as the news made it sound. (Isn’t that always the way)
Thanks for all of your prayers.
Scroll down for updates…
Breaking News Update -TEA FIRE
9:00 P.M. 300 + ACRES HAVE BURNED
Above Hwy 192 (East Valley Rd/Sycamore Cyn Rd.) between Cold Springs Rd and Hot Springs Rd.
Evacuation Center will be located at San Marcus High School
Tune to AM1680 and your local cable news for more information
STUDENTS BEING EVACUATED INTO THE GYM THEY ARE SHELTERING IN PLACE.
THERE ARE REPORTS OF SPOT FIRES ON CAMPUS, STUDENTS ARE NOT THREATENED
I have 2 nephews that are students at Westmont College. They and all the students have been evacuated to the Gym which they say is fireproof. Please pray that all the students will be safe and that Westmont College is spared any further damage and that the resident halls do not burn. Please pray for all the residents of Montecito!!
Here’s an update from my SIL whose 2 sons are on campus.
Roy sent me an email…he’s on the board of directors so has been kept updated. Evidently the gym was built as a ‘safe’ building evacuation area for this sort of thing because it is so hard to get that many people out of that area.
Here is what Roy said…
The latest I’ve heard is the following….
Students, staff and faculty who were on campus will evacuate “onsite” in the gym. This is a safe building approved by experts and will not burn.
Noozhawk.com reports that two cars in the Page parking lot burned, and that trees by the baseball field are ablaze. But the latest is that there is no structural damage to the campus. Firefighters are on campus.
WILD FIRE NEAR WESTMONT
At 9 p.m., an update was given to everyone sheltered in place in the gymnasium. There is no threat to the gym and air quality is improving there. Those sheltered in place seem to be doing well under the circumstances, and are now watching a movie. To our knowledge, no one has been injured on campus.
The fire has damaged several minor buildings.
Photos from Westmont College
If you have students at Westmont be encouraged that there are fire fighters on campus and that not only have they evacuated students to the gymnasium but local residents have been evacuated to the gymnasium because of it’s fire safety!! They are in the safest building in Montecito right now…
A residence hall and several classrooms were destroyed at Westmont College, a private Christian university, and about 800 students were evacuated to the school’s fireproof gymnasium, where they were out of harm’s way.
I will confirm with my brother and SIL but it sounds like Clark hall has fire damage. That is probably the residence hall being referred to above…
November 14th, 2008
Students who are on campus who wish to leave and have means to do so are allowed off-campus. Those leaving campus will not be allowed to return for at least 24 hours.
All faculty and staff who are currently off campus should not come to the campus unless specifically requested to do so by their supervisor.
There have been more than a dozen houses at Las Barrancas (faculty housing) destroyed in addition to the structures already mentioned.
Those wishing to extend temporary housing to those displaced by the fire should send their name, phone contact information, e-mail address, house address, and the number of individuals they can accommodate to: email@example.com.
November 13th, 2008
Update: 11:44 . A natural gas line has broken, forcing the fire department to shut off natural gas to the college. This has brought down our generators. We have between 1/2 hour and 4 hours of UPS left, so may not be able to post further updates through the web site.
Update: 11:36 p.m.
After consulting the Fire Department and the Red Cross, the decision has been made to continue sheltering in place at the gymnasium tonight.
The Red cross is brining 60 cots and 200 blankets to the gym.
Additional cots and blankets on campus are being brought to the gym.
There will be no classes on Friday.
Conditions on campus improved to the point where staff were able to get food from the Dining Commons and bring it to the gym, where the community is sheltered in place.
Conditions in the area may make it possible now to leave the campus for a Red Cross shelter, but that option is still being explored.
Firefighters are currently attempting to put out several fires at Clark Hall. Structures lost to or significantly damaged by fire include the Physics Building, the ‘old Math” building, Bauder Hall and the Quonset Huts.
Again, we are grateful that no one has been hurt on campus, and everyone is safely in the gymnasium and in good spirits.
Thank you for your prayers.
The emergency hotline number at 1-888-565-7911 has current information..
My nephew Caleb’s dorm sounds like it’s the dorm that has been damaged by the fire. From the photos we’ve seen looks like his room is a goner…
Here’s the latest update from the Westmont College Site:
There are no active fires on campus, no injuries, and everyone is safe.7:21 a.m.
All students and employees are fine. We are assessing damage this morning. Updates will be posted shortly.
Wesmont has 326 students remaining in the Gym; those students with transportation have been released from campus because it is safe for them to travel on area roads.
Westmont has lost eight structures, four buildings in Clark halls (F,G,M,S), the physics building, the old math building and the two quonset huts. The later three structures were scheduled for demolition soon.
Fourteen faculty homes in Las Barrancas have burned; there is damage to trees, and wooded areas on campus, but much of the formal gardens remains intact.
Fires out. Assessing damage.
No fires remain active on or in the campus area.