First, I know what it is like to loose almost everything you own in a fire, though in my case it was not my house that burned. I also helped fight a half-dozen fires during my over twenty years in Malibu. And in the 1993 fire, I knew when it was time to run from the fire.
So whenever I hear there is a fire in Malibu, I know friends and former neighbors of mine are in danger and I follow the news reports. But, to my not great surprise, the LA Times is not always useful in finding out whose homes burned, even though one call to any local would tell them who the owner of the big house that burned was. And as for not wanting anyone to find out their house was burning - well - all they had to do was look at the photo.
More importantly, the facts are not always right. For example:
The only safe escape route was west along Malibu Road, known locally as the old Pacific Coast Highway. "We told everybody to get out.... People were getting out as fast as possible," Kearsley said.
Now while Malibu Road was the old PCH more than a half-century ago, it is still, nevertheless, known locally as... Malibu Road.
However, some of the old timers do sometimes refer to it as... the Old Road. But in 20 years out there, I never once heard anyone say they lived on old Pacific Coast Highway.
Also, if you were west of the fire - the only safe way out would be to drive west. But if you were east of the fire, your only choice would, of course - be to drive east.
The burning homes were located near the midpoint of the 2 1/2-mile-long Malibu Road, which runs beneath the bluff along the oceanfront and is lined by about 60 to 70 houses.
Now it says Malibu Road is 2 1/2 miles long - and FYI, the average lot size on Malibu Road ranges from 50 feet to 60 feet with some larger and smaller. It then states that 60 to 70 homes are along Malibu Road. And there are 5,280 feet in a mile. And at least 100 homes are on 50 foot - or smaller - beach lots.
And... many parts of Malibu Road have houses on both sides of the road.
Um... do the math.