AMADOR COUNTY (CBS13) — The Electra Fire began on Monday while some families were celebrating the Fourth of July along the river in Amador County.
"I had just actually cast out my fishing line and I had gotten my kids set up on the beach," John Sullivan said.
That's when he noticed a nearby bonfire out of control.
"It had jumped over the road. It was on the side of the hill," he said.
Sullivan grabbed his wife, their eight-year-old daughter and five-month-old son and ran until an Amador County sheriff's deputy stopped their family and nearly 100 other people trying to escape what is now the Electra Fire.
"[He said], 'You can't go this way, it's not safe, I need everyone to turn around,' " Sullivan said.
The group fled to a nearby Pacific Gas and Electric property. They first went to the parking, lot but as fire inched closer, first responders forced them inside.
"So there's the power plant. Most of us were in there. The fire was actually coming towards us a lot faster than we thought it would be," Sullivan said. "I called my family, called my dad and said, 'I love you.' I talked to my mother for a moment."
The final words from his mom as fire surrounded the power plant property were both encouraging and uncertain.
"[She said] 'I love you and I'll see you when you get out of there,' " Sullivan said.
His children played cards and games with new friends, while the parents worried about a way out.
"I debated whether or not I should be trying to put the five-month-old on my back and start floating down the river with him," Sullivan said.
First responders said they monitored the fire and were able to keep families safe who were eventually able to head home.
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