Firefighter saves his family’s Ventura home and uses orange juice to save neighbor’s house

Posted at 7:50 PM, Dec 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-08 21:50:31-05

A story of bravery from the Thomas Fire burning in Ventura.

A Central Coast man who just finished his season as a firefighter at the CAL FIRE station in Cambria, saved his parents’ home and the home of a neighbor Monday night.

With no running water, he used what he could find to save the homes near Arroyo Verde Park while documenting it all with a GoPro. 

"It looked like a war zone," said Thomas Kofron, firefighter. "There was smoke everywhere. I could hardly see at all. There was an ember shower just raining down on the entire neighborhood. Everything was on fire all around me. It was one of the scariest times of my life."

Monday night, Kofron was determined to save his family’s home from the flames. 

"This one was scary because I was all by myself, everyone had evacuated, I didn’t have a team with me, a crew, a fire engine with a bunch of water. It was me by myself. It was personal. This was my family’s house," Kofron continued.

Meanwhile, the neighbor across the street was evacuating his family.

"We felt pretty safe, so we came back, put the kids to bed and an hour later we woke them up and the fire was over the top here and raging," said Garrett Martin. "There was fire everywhere. All those hills were torched and blazing."

He had expected to return home to nothing but rubble like so many others.

"My home is standing because our neighbor, he saved it. It caught on fire about 10:30 in the morning. He texted me saying he was going to try and save it but the house is probably going down. He kicked down our front door, cut open our walls and used orange juice to try to put the fire out because the water was shut off," Martin explained.

"I ran over there with a half a gallon of orange juice, tore apart the wall, found the fire and waved down an engine and they help me put it out," Kofron added.
Kofron says at one point, he thought his family’s home would burn. He called his dad and said, ‘you have ten minutes,’ and asked him what he wanted to be saved from inside the home.

About half of the homes on the same street were burned. 

Now, the cleanup process begins. Gas, water and electricity crews are working in the neighborhoods in Ventura around the clock, trying to get power back to those who were able to return to a house still standing.