Tag: lessons learned

Lessons learned and ignored from a fire that destroyed 3,450 homes

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Published: Oct 19, 2016 6:17 p.m. ET

Conditions that contributed to the Oakland Hills fire 25 years ago re-emerge

Courtesy California Office of Emergency Services
A firefighter silhouetted in the flames of the Oakland Hills firestorm of Oct. 20, 1991. The fire killed 25 people and destroyed nearly 3,500 homes.

For Jim and Veronica Harris, the morning of Oct. 20, 1991, in the hills just above Oakland, Calif., was hot, dry and ominously windy. From the third-story balcony of their home on Estates Drive, they watched as a tall cloud of gray and black smoke marched steadily toward them. Soon, they began to see pine trees literally explode from the heat. “We looked at it and turned to each other and said, ‘This doesn’t look good,’ so we started packing,” said Veronica Harris, a retired nurse and speech pathologist who now lives in Denver. read on