YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — A narrow, harrowing escape from the deadly Cascade Fire in Yuba County caught on camera.
Two roommates didn’t realize they were in danger until they saw flames closing in on them, and one of them recorded the dramatic minutes as they tried to make it out alive.
The Cascade Fire began on Cascade Way and Marysville Road, north of Collins Lake early Sunday morning.
The fire has burned more than 12,000 acres and is only 20 percent contained.
The panic and terror is obvious in the video. The two men were driving away from their home but were blocked by a gate. Mike Vien got out to open it and was swarmed by embers flying from all directions. At one point he screams to his roommate that they will die if they don’t get out of the area fast.
Vien said, “I did think that we weren’t going to get through it for a minute.”
In an interview Wednesday with CBS13, Vien described the situation as the scariest three minutes of his life. Even amidst the chaos and fear, he and his roommate decided to record the entire experience.
“So everyone can get a better perspective of what a fire could really do to someone and what it could to the property around and how fast it really moves,” said Vien.
Vien and his roommate knew something was wrong Sunday night when the lights in their Loma Rica home started fluttering. They went outside and smelled smoke and then saw the sky light up red. With an orange glow surrounding them and the Cascade Fire closing in, the two grabbed their dogs, got into their car and peeled out.
“You had no time.”
And no warning. By the time the car pulled to the front gate Vien said, “The fire was coming right at us. It didn’t look real, honestly. It looked fake. It looked like something that should be in a movie.”
The smoke-filled sky was blinding. In the video, you can hear Vien’s roommate- who was driving the car- saying he couldn’t see the road. Both of the men said their eyes were burning as well. But, they kept driving, looking to power lines to lead the way. When they pulled up to another gate, they decided just to plow it down, where they finally pulled out of the fire lines and into safety.
“I’m actually surprised we got through it and happy we got through it honestly,” said Vien.
A harrowing escape from a fast-moving fire caught on camera, and two men still here to share their story of survival.
“I think I’m just happy to be alive honestly.”
The two men did lose their home and one of their cars in the fire. They are hoping to raise funds to help recover some of what they’ve lost, but both tell CBS13 they realize they still have what’s most important.