Thousand Oaks native reflects on fires, bar shooting

Thousand Oaks native reflects on fires, bar shooting

CALABASH, NC (WECT) - Firefighters continue to battle fires scorching spots all over California and a Thousand Oaks native in our area has been watching the tragedy from across the country.

Bryan McAlexander grew up in Thousand Oaks. His family has since moved to just outside of San Francisco.

He said he has been following updates about the deadly fire on social media, watching a place he called his home base engulfed by fast-moving flames.

McAlexander’s childhood home is still standing and he said Californians are used to fires, but the Woolsey fire is different.

“We would sit out around the house and just watch the hill burn across and just have all kinds of weird concerns," McAlexander said. “That’s kind of a weird event but then your heart goes out to the people who do get damaged. Hats off to the Ventura Fire Department. They are amazing.”

Even though his family moved out of the area, McAlexander said it’s hard not to feel like he’s there as he watches the tragedy on TV.

“It’s kind of like your home base where you kind of reference everything that you’ve learned and experienced," McAlexander said. "It’s family.”

Mother Nature is throwing a one-two punch at a city already suffering. A man gunned down 12 people less than a week ago at the Borderline Bar and Grill.

“I’ve been to that bar a couple of times," McAlexander said. “We frequented it and did the country line dance thing when it was popular back in the 80s. You just picture yourself there and that happening and it just becomes surreal.”

Despite recent tragedies, McAlexander is confident his hometown will recover.

“To take on something like that in such close proximity, you’re already in shock from one thing and then you get another," he said. “It has got to be unsettling, but people are pretty resilient and deal with the stresses of it and move on.”

One of McAlexander’s co-workers works for a software company based out of California, and lost everything to a fire in the Town of Paradise, which was almost totally destroyed by the fire.

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.