At 9:24 p. m. on Saturday night, December 10, San Bernardino County Fire responded to a reported residential structure fire in the 5000 Block of Easter Dr. Neighbors reported no one was in the two-story home at 5510 Easter Dr. when the fire was discovered. Medic Engine 14 of Wrightwood was the first unit on scene; the crew reported major fire involvement to the structure. Upon arrival, they went into attack mode; realizing the severity of the incident, they called for a second alarm for more manpower to help extinguish the fire. During the crews’ aggressive attack on the blaze, they saw live electrical wires on the ground. According to Peter McKernan, Public Information Officer for SBC Fire, the fire had affected the integrity of the home, which caused the electrical drop going to the house to be detached from the connection. Crews and dispatch were notified of the danger, and to keep everyone on the incident safe from the hazardous area. Notification was then given to the utility providers in the area, to expedite their response and disconnect all utilities leading to the both the home and 5510, and the house next door. Hand crews responded to the incident and successfully mitigated the spread of fire to surrounding vegetation as flames threatened to move down the hill. One hour and forty-five minutes were spent bring the inferno under control. Four hours later, crews had the fire out. McKernan reported no injuries to civilians or firefighters. As of December 14, the cause of the fire is still under investigation by San Bernardino County Office of the Fire Marshall. Eight Medic Engines, one Rescue, two Battalion Chiefs, one Assistant Chief and two Fire Investigators responded to the fire. Rialto Fire Department, and Cal Fire assisted with the incident. Homeowner Bill Broome was not in the house at the time of the fire. On Sunday morning, he remarked how thankful he was that no one was injured, “This could have been worse,” he said. Broome bought the home in 2010 and had remodeled it. He has a home in Los Angeles and rents the Wrightwood home part-time. Besides the home itself, Broome mentioned his book collection among the losses, “I had thousands of books stored upstairs. Many were signed, first editions.” He also lost a number of Navajo rugs. Greg and Nancy Walczynski live next door to Broome’s home. When they saw the flames through a window, they called 911. “Firefighters were working outside, where the fire was singing the outside wall downstairs,” Greg said, “when it blew a hole through, I came out and told them ‘It’s inside!’” Nancy pointed out where a hole had been cut in a section of roof, to allow access for the water. Greg had moved the couple’s motorhome down the street, to keep it from harm. The Walczynski’s electricity had not been restored as of Sunday morning. Broom credited his 30-foot clearance for hindering the spread of the fire to neighboring homes and brush. He plans to rebuild on the property, “With a view like that,” Broome said, as he pointed toward the west, “who wouldn’t rebuild?”
Train Wreck in name only
By Terri Hill
Last weekend the Serrano Choral Department wrapped up their run of, It’s a Wonderful Train Wreck, this year’s Dinner Show. Written by Hannah Steinmann and Abigail De Arman, in collaboration with the players, the show took a page from It’s a Wonderful Life and modernized it. Then put it on a train. Everyday people, with everyday problems, find themselves stranded on a broken-down train. Through their interactions, they learn something about Christmas spirit from a train conductor, and from each other. George Bailey must go home and tell his wife that they’ve been turned down for a loan by the bank. He is convinced that there is no true Christmas magic left in the world. The Train Conductor, on the other hand, has been charged by the Station Manager with the task of helping his passengers see the holiday spirit around them. Other passengers include a young starlet, who hopes to get “the part” that will make her career, a little girl who wandered onto the train alone, for an adventure, and a traveling salesman who peddles sponges. The “Grinch” of the story is Mr. Grin, who has plenty of money, but no patience or kindness it seems. In true Hallmark fashion, Mr. Grin sees the error of his ways, and George Bailey rediscovers the magic of the season, just in time for a pair of star-crossed station employees to repair the train’s engine with…duct tape. Steinmann and De Arman were happy with the positive response to their show. The house sold out nearly all four performances. Steinmann had pitched her idea for the modernized classic tale last year. Choir director Alan Alaniz told her he liked the concept, “Now, put it on a train!” Steinmann said, “If I had to sum up producing the show, I would say it’s an insane process; it’s a train wreck, if you will. But it is wonderful, and it does come together into something we can all cherish. It’s been a wonderful experience for everyone involved, and hopefully for all those watching!” De Arman commented, “I’m grateful for the opportunity (to work on the show). Working together, in one cohesive unit let us create something beautiful, something we wouldn’t have been able to do by ourselves.” Between scenes in the play, the audience was treated to musical interludes by the choirs, and by various solos, duets, and choir numbers. Crescendo, Forte, Bedazzled, Vocal Point, and Schitzophonics sang as individual choirs, and as a combined choral spectacular. Notably, Vocal Point brought home the theme of modernizing the classics with, “Text Me a Merry Christmas,” by the group Straight No Chaser: “This holiday - you’ll be far away - and I’ll be all alone, So please remember, this December, to fully charge your phone and, Text me Merry Christmas…” The annual Dinner Show is the choral department’s most anticipated performance of the year, and with such talented musicians and vocalists, it isn’t hard to see why.
Santa and ferrets and cockatoos, oh my!
By Terri Hill
Carolyn McNamara’s Christmas party returned to Phelan on December 11, much to the delight of High Desert families. Santa Claus came down from the North Pole for a few hours, and made sure children of all ages had a chance to make a wish, and get a photo with the jolly old man. For those little ones too shy to come sit with Santa by the makeshift fire, he would gladly step out and greet them and their parents. McNamara’s party would not be complete without some furry and feathered friends to meet. Ricky, the cockatoo, loves the attention he receives from Carolyn, and from guests at the party. He will make himself “big,” and ruffle feathers and crest when encouraged to do so. Ricky also says, “Hello,” and will holler loudly when he feels abandoned on his perch. Pony Rides were provided by Patty’s Ponies and Pets. Five ponies were costumed with reindeer antlers as children took turns riding, assisted by Lizz Briley and staff from the stables. Kiah Almquist brought a representative of her parents’ animal refuge, Forever Wild. Loki the ferret was a bit shy, but seemed comfortable in the capable hands of Kiah. Mills Hardware sponsored the Bounce House, which was continuously jumping with activity. Metro PCS sponsored the face-painting booth. Jade Martinez artfully transformed youngsters’ faces into critters; butterflies and cats were favored themes. As is tradition, KAT Country (KATJ-FM) broadcast from the party and hosted a wheel of prizes. Bumper stickers and t-shirts were popular with guests who spun the wheel. Radio DJ and Y102 Sports Show host, Mychal Fabela was on hand to do the live spots with McNamara. Fabela was a star quarterback at Serrano High School in 2006, and graduated in 2007. His presence at the community party added much to the feeling of family that McNamara strives for. Carolyn comments, “I do this to say thank you to the community, for their support of my real estate business, as well as other local businesses throughout the year.”
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