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MailTribune.com
  • Oak Knoll firefight: Quick response saved lives

  • Assoon as Dena Adame turned onto Oak Knoll Drive that afternoon, she realized something was wrong.
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  • Assoon as Dena Adame turned onto Oak Knoll Drive that afternoon, she realized something was wrong.
    Above the one-story Craftsman homes, smoke was swallowing up the sky. The sun was darkening. The air was growing thick.
    Adame, an Ashland Fiber Network telecommunications technician, had just finished her last service call of the day, which, by coincidence or fate, was in the Oak Knoll neighborhood.
    It was 4:47 p.m. on Aug. 24, and the Oak Knoll fire had just jumped Interstate 5 and was barreling toward homes. In a matter of minutes, it would destroy 11 houses and damage three, becoming Ashland's worst residential fire in at least a century.
    But first, four quick-thinking and fast-moving city employees — Adame, two police officers and a firefighter — would evacuate all the houses on the block.
    Everyone would escape safely.
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