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REAL REPUBLICANS FOR REAL CHANGE

YEARLY FIRE CLEANSING HAS HIT ITS MARK or HOW HOLLYWOOD IS DOING ITS BEST TO STRENGTHER HOUSING MARKET

Posted by zeakster on November 15, 2008

DEFINITION OF INSANITY IS REPEATING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESULT.
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The charred remains of luxury homes dotted the hillsides of this ritzy California hideaway for the super-rich on Friday as residents recalled a firestorm that struck without warning.Aerial television footage of Montecito showed row after row of smoldering wreckage in exclusive neighborhoods that are home to some of the most expensive residential properties in the United States.
As fire chiefs hinted to reporters that they were still assessing the full extent of the damage, some celebrities in the area breathed a sigh of relief their homes had managed to emerge unscathed.
Hollywood actor Rob Lowe told fellow celebrity and Montecito homeowner Oprah Winfrey on her morning chat show that the flames had arrived suddenly.
“I was watching the football game with my son, and my wife called and said, ‘Montecito’s on fire — get out!’,” Lowe said. “I thought she was kidding because there was no indication that there would be any problem whatsoever.

“But we got in the car, pulled out of the driveway and the entire mountain behind us was flames, 200 feet high shooting up into the air.”

Lowe later told the ABC7 network that he had come to the aid of a neighbor who was unable to escape their property.

“There was literally no warning. It came out of nowhere. It was right on top of dear friends of mine’s homes. I went there to see if I could help and our friends were trapped behind the gate of their property. They couldn’t get out.

“The wind was 70 miles per hour out there easily. It was like Armageddon. You couldn’t hear yourself think. But we were able to get the gates open and get out.”

 

Lowe’s home was not damaged in the fire but the actor said he remained alert to the possibility that the wind could change direction.

“We were really, really lucky. The wind which unfortunately drove it towards my neighbors was blowing in the exact opposite direction to my home.

“So we were okay but it was a long night. Because if the wind shifted it would have been right on us in two seconds,” he said.

“It’s dead calm now but if that wind kicks up today it’s going to be trouble, there’s going to be no way to stop it.”

Talk show queen Winfrey meanwhile, who owns a 50-million-dollar, 42-acre estate in Montecito and hosted a fundraiser for president-elect Barack Obama there, was not at her home when the fire struck.

Winfrey, whose home was not damaged in the fire, said her biggest concern had been safely evacuating her pets.

“I don’t have kids, so the most important thing for me is my dogs,” Winfrey said on her show Friday. “And so we already had a plan for getting the dogs out and going to the Four Seasons in Westlake because they take dogs.”

“From now on I’ll have so much more empathy and compassion for people who are going through it,” Winfrey added.

Others were not so lucky. Andrew Bermant, a real estate developer, owns two properties on the millionaire’s row of Coyote Road, which was one of the worst hit areas.

Bermant however remained philosophical about the destruction to property and possessions on Friday after expressing relief that he had able to safely evacuate his family at dusk.

“You can lose your photos, but your memories are still in your heart,” Bermant said.

“The bottom line is we know the risk of living here and we’re always fearful with these sundowner winds. We’re glad it didn’t happen at two in the morning when everyone was asleep,” Bermant said.

“With the 70 mile-an-hour winds that shake our home sometimes we knew that this was a potential. So now the whole thing for our community is to come together. Every end is a new beginning.”

 

 

 

 

 

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