California wildfire evacuee describes her overnight escape

Giselle LaFayette shares regular updates with her mother in Cicero

CICERO (WSYR-TV) - A mother from Cicero is watching coverage of the California wildfires closely as her daughter tries to escape the approaching flames.

"You can barely see the tree tops from where I'm standing," Giselle LaFayette said Monday afternoon. "It's covered with smoke, ashes falling, my car is covered with ash."

She woke up just after 1 a.m. when her boyfriend called to tell her to start packing. When LaFayette peeked outside, she thought the coast was clear. Then, her boyfriend called back ten minutes later and urged her to leave her home.

"I went back out on the porch and I said, 'Oh my God!' In just that ten minute span the sky was orange, so it looked like the fires were getting very close, very fast."

Traffic was tight and LaFayette says the smoke became overwhelming at times, but she was able to drive north overnight.

"It was scary. You just see the streets are jammed and you're just trying to get out as fast as you can and it felt surreal, like you were in a movie," she recalls.

After arriving at an evacuation center, LaFayette feared she'd need to keep moving as the fire continued to spread. Crews are also battling wind and dry weather.

"There are schools that have been burned to the ground. I'm getting emotional just thinking about it. Some of my friends have lost their homes," she said, as her voice cracked.

At last check, LaFayette was able to check her home. She says the patio was covered with ash and there's thick smoke throughout her neighborhood.


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