What to grab when wildfires threaten your home

Wednesday, December 28th 2005, 9:55 am
By: News On 6

High winds can quickly push grassfires over dry land. Several fires moved so fast this week, Berryhill residents were caught off guard. When seconds count, what should you grab if you can save only a few things?

News on 6 reporter Omar Villafranca has some advice from the experts.

The fast moving grassfire was so close to CR Thompson's home, he barely had any warning. "We didn't even know there was a fire out until the man rapped on the door and said get in your car and get out of here immediately. There is a fire and its right here at your place. Leave now."

Several firefighters the News on 6 spoke with, suggested getting a fire proof box to put your important documents. They also say don’t anchor it to the ground just in case you need to grab it and run for the door. In that fireproof box, keep a copy of any birth certificates and wills. Also, a copy of the title to your car and the deed to your home will help if you have to file a claim. Finally, keep your social security card safe from any fire. Having these documents can speed up any claim you might have to make.

Mr. Thompson and his wife did escape, but didn't get to save any important documents or keepsakes. They didn't have to, their home didn’t burn. CR Thompson: “titles to the car, an extra set of car keys, and birth certificates, Army discharge papers, I have a safety deposit box at the bank and that's where I keep all of the very important papers.” Not only was Mr. Thompson lucky, he was smart.

Firefighters warn people that sometimes a fire can move so fast, it's not wise to try and save anything.