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Tag: "fire"

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Stirring the Ashes

Stirring the Ashes

By Anthony Kaufman, Special to the Independent No one was sure what started the blaze that had ravaged this beachside community. I would interview those I knew who had lost their homes and look for a compelling story. I would please my East Coast editor with the tale of a little girl who saved her […]

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Is Laguna Safer Today?

Is Laguna Safer Today?

Some conditions remain unchanged since a devastating wildfire swept through Laguna Beach on Oct. 27, 1993, a $528 million disaster that consumed or damaged 441 homes and cost no human lives, but continues to influence city policy. The sun continues to bake the town’s south-facing slopes, making them drier and more vulnerable to fire’s spread. […]

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If not now, When? If not here, Where?

If not now, When? If not here, Where?

Editor, These simple questions put forth by a Planning Commission member last month encompass the heart of the matter concerning the live/work project proposed along Laguna Canyon Road. They succinctly distill the last seven years of unrelenting compliance on the part of the project’s creators to faithfully adhere to all city and state ordinances, countless […]

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Village Matters: Flickering Memories Illuminate Future

Village Matters: Flickering Memories Illuminate Future

  It was the early ‘70s and neighbor Ralph Davis pleaded with the Orange County Planning Commission, “Remember the Bel Air fire!” Somehow he had been there, perhaps as a firefighter.  Ridge and hill top development above South Laguna was being considered by the Commission. Davis was emphatic, “Ridge tops are in the most danger […]

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A Fire Victim Who Refused to Return

A Fire Victim Who Refused to Return

By Sean Orfila, Special to the Independent Venola Imrie’s journey to Laguna Beach was a familiar story for those moving here during the 1950s. Her husband Watson Imrie, an avid photographer, aspired to live closer to photographer William Mortensen, who operated a studio and school teaching his unique style of portraiture. In 1953, the couple […]

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A Miracle in Mystic Hills

A Miracle in Mystic Hills

‘The Castle’ withstands a firestorm By Loreen Berlin, Special to the Independent Twenty years ago, Laguna Beach homeowner Lona Ingwerson lived in a Mystic Hills home visible above Main Beach dubbed “the castle.” When the October 1993 firestorm swept in from Laguna Canyon, one arm of the fire climbed straight up the hills that hem […]

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The View’s Fine From Two Decades Away

The View’s Fine From Two Decades Away

It was a good mid-October day, all signs pointed to the sublime: blue skies, warm-enough water, glassy surf. In a little beach town trampled by summer tourists, it was finally a locals’ haven again. “It’s a good day,” Frank said. And a far cry from where he was standing 20 years ago. He was at […]

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Humbled by Gifts, Couple Rebuilds Their Lives

Humbled by Gifts, Couple Rebuilds Their Lives

By Robin Pierson, Special to the Independent As water-dropping helicopters soared overhead, one asked a prescient question:  “What would you do if you lost your house?” “I told her I walk what I talk…that material things aren’t most important. Health and happiness are.’” Little did he know that by the end of the day, DuBois […]

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Historical Society Recounts ‘93 Blaze

Historical Society Recounts ‘93 Blaze

The terrible Laguna Beach wildfire was 20 years ago, taking place on Oct. 27, 1993. This unsolved crime touched the lives of most all Lagunans. The Laguna Beach Historical Society program on the fire is set for Tuesday, Oct. 22, and will include photos and a report on the 1993 firestorm written by the Orange […]

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CERT Volunteers on the Front Lines

CERT Volunteers on the Front Lines

With last weekend’s high fire risk weather conditions, trained volunteers were asked for the first time to take a “fire watch” shift at one of Laguna Beach’s main entry points into the coastal wilderness park. About 50 people entered the park or nearby trailhead during the midday, four-hour shift at Alta Laguna Park, said participant […]

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Firefighters Quickly Douse Shed Blaze

Firefighters Quickly Douse Shed Blaze

A fire of undetermined origin engulfed a storage shed at the rear of a home at 671 Bayview Place in Laguna Beach’s Temple Hills area Tuesday, Oct. 15, fire officials said. Laguna’s fire department, supplemented by Orange County Fire Authority units, quickly knocked down the blaze, said a statement from the fire department’s Tom Christopher. […]

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From Ashes Rises a Collection of a Different Sort

From Ashes Rises a Collection of a Different Sort

The remnants of Sandra and Jerry LeWinter possessions from before Laguna Beach’s life-altering 1993 conflagration fits into a rectangular glass case dubbed “Memento Mori.” Shards of French porcelain, sundry dishes, bent silver and a charred wedding band lie among the blackened mementos that Mr. LeWinter has tried to be rid of for at least a […]

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School District Plans for Disasters

School District Plans for Disasters

As the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Laguna Beach fire approaches, it serves as a reminder that fire season is here, although student safety remains a top priority throughout the year, the school district announced in a statement. “The safety of children is our first priority,” said Superintendent Sherine Smith, adding that district safety coordinator, […]

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Flying Poles Force Brief Evacuation

Flying Poles Force Brief Evacuation

Southern California Edison’s “routine” replacement of two utility poles in Bluebird Canyon was anything but routine for the residents of 50 nearby homes. They received mandatory evacuation orders prior to Wednesday’s extraction by helicopter of two utility poles located behind properties on Wykoff Way. Despite the mandatory evacuation notice, Bluebird Canyon Drive resident Lori Solomon […]

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‘93’s Arsonist Never Caught

‘93’s Arsonist Never Caught

By Loreen Berlin, Special to the Independent Twenty years ago this month, a savage fire devoured 14,000 acres of Laguna Canyon wilderness and ravaged multiple neighborhoods. The fire that destroyed 391 homes and threatened more than 1,000 others at the time was believed to be the work of an arsonist, but the perpetrator were never […]