Multiple fires threaten San Diego area in early start to season

Resident Remembers 'Valley of Fire'

Coronado Hills resident Scott Dennis' home was spared by the Cocos Fire, which surrounded his street on May 14

By Candice Nguyen
|  Thursday, May 22, 2014  |  Updated 11:24 AM PDT
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NBC 7's Candice Nguyen speaks with Scott Dennis, a Coronado Hills resident whose home was spared by the Cocos Fire. As the flames encroached on his home on May 14, 2014, Dennis remembers seeing a

NBC 7's Candice Nguyen speaks with Scott Dennis, a Coronado Hills resident whose home was spared by the Cocos Fire. As the flames encroached on his home on May 14, 2014, Dennis remembers seeing a "valley of fire" that seemed like the end for his home.

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Cocos Fire Damage Day 1

NBC 7's Jacob Rascon reports from the Cocos Fire on Friday, May 16, 2014.
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If hell on earth existed, you could imagine it’d look like the valley behind Scott Dennis’ home last Wednesday.

The Cocos Fire reached his Coronado Hills neighborhood destroying a number of homes. Flames inched their way onto his property near Cycad Drive.

Dennis was told to leave.

“I had no intention of staying. At the time, I was ready to go. The car was running, the dog was in the car. I had all the belongings, the picture,” he recalled.

That’s when firefighters arrived, using his patio as a lookout area and to protect his home. Dennis, himself, was armed with only a single hose. At that point, he started getting a close-up look at what crews go through during these wildfires.

“Seeing a fire truck back up into a home where it's totally engulfed…to go up to save that home. These guys are crazy,” he said.

When the winds calmed and the temperatures dropped, the valley of fire turned into hills covered in ash. That’s what remains of the once lush hillsides.

Dennis told NBC 7 he will never forget what those firefighters did – saving his home and standing with him side-by-side through the night.

“There were so many things they did that just a regular day-to-day citizen, you wouldn't even imagine to have to think of,” Dennis said.

Echoing the thoughts of so many, Dennis remembered, in the middle of the hellish disaster they were angels.

Firefighters want to remind people when it’s time to evacuate, it is crucial you do so.

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