'We Had 60 Seconds, Maybe': Campbell Creek Ranch Owner Escapes Fire - NBC 7 San Diego

'We Had 60 Seconds, Maybe': Campbell Creek Ranch Owner Escapes Fire

“We saw this tremendous," he said, pausing to describe the sight. "At that point, it was just dark smoke.”

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Campbell Creek Ranch Burns in West Fire

    (Published Friday, July 6, 2018)

    A couple who owned a ranch in Alpine had seconds to escape when a vegetation fire exploded, destroying multiple homes in the densely-populated foothill community east of San Diego, California.

    The West Fire scorched at least 400 acres in just hours Friday as it hopped from neighborhood to neighborhood, skipping over some homes only to burn others to the ground.

    Colin and Janice Campbell own the Campbell Creek Ranch, a 48-acre ranch used for weddings and other events. According to the ranch's website, it was established in the 1880s.

    By 5 p.m., the two-story farmhouse was fully engulfed in flames.

    Colin Campbell said he and his wife were watching the morning World Cup soccer match when the video froze. 

    “We saw this tremendous," he said, pausing to describe the sight. "At that point, it was just dark smoke.”

    Campbell said he and his wife jumped into action.

    “We had 60 seconds maybe,” he said. “We knew immediately we needed to get in our cars and go.”

    He raced to his son's home that is located at the front of the ranch.

    When Campbell spoke to NBC 7, he had not yet met up with his wife and son. However, he was sure they took a different route from the ranch house to the highway.

    The brush fire sparked at about 11:30 a.m. near Willows Road and Alpine Boulevard and moved south from Interstate 8 into the community of Alpine.

    As of 4 p.m., firefighters said 400 acres had burned and they had only 5 percent of the fire surrounded.

    Evacuations were called for residents at Alpine Oaks Estates. 

    Cal Fire officials have not said how many homes or structures burned in the West Fire.

    On the ranch's website, there are images of couples who have tied the knot using the property's bridal cottage, gazebo and tree stumps as tables.