October 23, 2018
One month and three days before my 21st birthday, my whole world flashed before my eyes. A few days prior to this tragic event, I found myself praying for a new start in life. Thus bringing me to state it is not what I envisioned when I prayed for a new start, but unfortunately what tragically happened.
Thursday, June 23, 2016 around 4pm the Erskine Fire was first reported. Around 4:30pm, I was sleeping on my living room floor. My dog Skerrah Lee was at my feet, my boyfriend at the time Gary "RABBIT" was on one side of me, and his dog Max was on the other side of me when we abruptly awoke to a loud BANG!. A nearby propane tank exploding due to the heat caused from the flames was what made the loud bang. A few moments later, my mom was hopping out of a friends vehicle screaming 'Get Out!!! Terralyn Get Out Now!! Hurry!." at me.
While she was screaming at me I instantly went into panic mode and ran to my room to gather my things. As I was gathering my things, my mom had already hopped my locked fence, ran up the driveway to the sliding glass door, and flung it opened. Then rushed down the hallway to her room to gather a few things.
Then as I stepped out to the hallway to ask her what I needed to take she hit the bag that was in my hands out of my hands and told me to "get my dog and get out of there now!". Then turned to Gary and told him to get me out of the house now even if he had to put me on his shoulder and carry me out. So I turned and ran down the hallway through the living room to the sliding glass door.
While going through the living room I stopped and grabbed my red, yellow, and green belt, my cellphones, my purse, my shoes, and my dogs leash. When I ran out of my sliding glass door the flames were already at my back fence. I ran down Goat Ranch Rd with my dog by my side and balls of fire coming down Goat Ranch behind me. The sky was orangish red with heavy smoke and you could smell death in the air.
By the time I made it out of South Lake, you couldn't see the person next to you or the vehicle ahead of you. Skerrah Lee, Max, Gary, and I were separated from the rest of my family till the next morning. I was sick to my stomach, throwing up till nothing but stomach acid was coming out, and watched the mountain behind where we were crashing at spark back up and burn all night. A State of Emergency for Kern County was declared the next evening by Gov. Jerry Brown.
In conclusion, my whole world flashed before my eyes that day. I watched my community burn down in front of me and was left homeless, scared, traumatized, and with nothing. I got a new start in life that day cause even though it was horrific and very hard for me to handle, I still pushed on and started rebuilding. Even though still to this day I have very little and don't have my dog anymore, I have major PTSD, Im still bouncing from couch to couch, I haven't given up on top of having a support system and friends to help me through. If it wasn't for that loud bang and my mom, my dog and I wouldn't be alive today.
(Also there is way more to my story I just did the short version that didn't hurt me so bad writing about.)
P.S. The Erskine Fire was the 15th most destructive fire in state history, burning 47, 864 acres including 309 buildings that were destroyed with only 2 fatalities. The fire cost $19.3 million dollars and the cause of it is still under investigation.