MIDDLETOWN (KPIX 5) – When the Valley Fire ripped through Middletown Saturday night, Cody Smith and his family came terrifyingly close to the fire. They were trapped on their own property, surrounded by a wall of flames.
"Thirty foot flames just coming across in front of us, across the arena," Smith told KPIX 5.
The PG&E worker was on the clock when his wife, who is nine months pregnant, called in a panic.
"My wife called me screaming. Said, 'The fire's here! The fire's here!'" Smith recalled.
Smith rushed home. "Heart was pounding, weaving in and out of traffic," he said.
With power lines falling behind him, Smith realized it was too late to evacuate. The only safe haven was the horse arena just outside his home.
"So we went to the arena," he said. "We all piled into the vehicles and sat in there."
Smith says the flames made the windows hot to the touch and the sound of the fire was like nothing he had ever heard.
"It was really loud. It was rumbling. At one point my sister asked, 'What's that noise?' And it was from the flames and the wind roaring," he said.
For two hours they hunkered down in the arena, with the flames blowing over the tops of the cars, until their worst nightmare came true. The house Smith built with his own hands eight years ago lit up like a match and burned to the ground in 15 minutes flat.
"It was devastating," Smith said. "I turned the car around so my wife couldn't see it."
The Smiths had no time to remove anything from the house, no photographs or important papers, but he says all that matters is that they survived, and his wife's due date is just a week away.
"Just gonna have the baby and move on from there," he said.
The Smiths were stuck in the fire for four hours straight. They were finally rescued and let out by PG&E workers who Smith by reached on the radio. In spite of the destruction done to their home, they were not hurt and neither were any of the animals.
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