Ashley Matthews

Alpine Man Saves Neighbor's Homes During West Fire

As the West Fire was inching dangerously close to an Alpine man's neighbor's homes Friday, he leaped into action.

Jeff Thomas told NBC 7 he built his house 28 years ago and he wasn't going to let the West Fire take his or his neighbor's homes.

"I bought a pool pump, so I could help fight the fire myself," Thomas said as he showed it could reach 20-30 feet all the way to his neighbor’s homes.

He bought the pump after almost losing his home in the 2003 Cedar Fire.

So far, 18 homes have been lost in this conflagration.

For hours Friday, Thomas went from house to house, able to hold the fire just feet away.

"Somebody down there must have had a whole lot of ammunition because I was hearing bullets go off like crazy," Thomas said. "It was just three hours of a war zone."

Thomas said he also had an escape route in place if he felt it was getting too dangerous. That included knowing what streets were still open.

"It's just devastating," he said. "This was the scariest thing I've ever been through."

The risk paid off and several homes were saved Friday but firefighters say that it is always important to evacuate if you are under a mandatory evacuation.

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