A blaze in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles was only 13 percent contained Saturday after destroying 13 buildings. One man who had tried to fight the blaze died of a heart attack.
The fast-moving fire is keeping tens of thousands of people from returning to their homes until officials are convinced it's safe.
Edwin Bernard, 73, is no stranger to flames that have frequently menaced his sunburnt corner of Los Angeles, but they never arrived as quickly or came as close to his home before.
Fire swept down the hill across the street and spit embers over his home of 30 years, sizzling through dry grass and igniting trees and bushes. He and his wife scrambled to go, leaving behind medication, photo albums and their four cats.
"It was a whole curtain of fire," Bernard said. "There was fire on all sides. We had to leave."
Bernard's home and the cats left inside survived — barely. His backyard was charred.
The fire broke out Thursday, just hours after flaming garbage in a trash truck sparked another wind-whipped blaze that ravaged a mobile park in Calimesa, east of downtown Los Angeles.
Several residents of the park were unaccounted for and the family of an 89-year-old woman says they fear she died when her home burned.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.