ISLETON (CBS13) — Dozens of homes in an RV park in Brannan Island were destroyed after a vegetation fire fueled by high winds burned out of control on Monday.
But one man’s quick thinking saved lives.READ MORE: Boy, 9, Dies From Injuries Suffered In East Bay Area Train Crash
Randy Watkins said it was chaos as he hurried out of the Rancho Marina RV Park.
“Me and this neighbor here, we were squirting our trailer down,” said Watkins. “It was total chaos trying to get out. You can imagine, one road out.”
Many had just minutes to get out of harm’s way.
“My kids walked out with no shoes, I was barely able to get my dogs out,” said Sarah Thompson. “I grabbed birth certificates and the few little cash necessities we had.”
Thompson lost everything before she even knew what happened.
“The wind took the embers and started lighting everything on fire,” she said.
Tommy Tucker, 73, was moving as fast as he could, but his neighbor Jimmy Ram was worried it wasn’t fast enough.
“He was struggling and I couldn’t watch him struggle,” Ram said.READ MORE: Homicide Investigators Investigate Suspicious Death On Village Centre Drive In Sacramento
The 27-year-old Ram grabbed Tucker’s oxygen tanks and threw them in the back of his truck, then took off down the block.
“Everybody is like a family and that was just going through my mind-just to help people,” Ram said. “It was crazy, so I just knocked on everybody’s door – just trying to do … as fast as I can.”
Ram braved the heat and smoke to sound the alarm.
“They was in shock, they was still sleeping. If I wasn’t there, they would have been hurt,” he said.
An act of selflessness that saved lives, Randy Watkins says.
“You don’t see young people like that anymore. He went down there getting elderly people out of their homes to get them to safety. You just don’t see those kinda people,” Watkins said.
Everyone made it out. But with daylight on Tuesday, there was the dawn of a new reality.
“There was nothing we could do. In the blink of an eye it was gone,” Thompson said.MORE NEWS: Electra Fire: Mandatory Evacuation Zone Expanded In Amador, Warnings In Effect For Calaveras
Residents want to get back in, but authorities say that’s not possible for the moment because each one of the sites has to be assessed for potentially hazardous materials.