Terrifying footage of a couple’s California wildfire escape shows the “hellscape” they fled

Facebook/San Francisco Chronicle

A California couple fleeing the deadly wildfire that is ravaging the state captured part of their terrifying journey on video, painting a scary picture of the “hellscape” they escaped.

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Andre Epstein and Neda Monshat were woken up by neighbors in the middle of the night on Monday to warn them that the wildfire was quickly approaching their home. The midnight wake up call was the first they had heard of the devastating disaster approaching them. While they quickly packed a few belongings and grabbed their dog, they ran into trouble locating their car keys.

“The worst part wasn’t the drive,” Monshat recalled. “It was looking for the keys. We looked up every few minutes and saw the fire blowing towards us.”

As a caravan of neighbors was preparing to leave the area together, Monshat and Epstein were forced to tell them to go ahead without them. After a frantic 20-minute search, they finally located their keys just as the fire was closing in on them.

They the headed south, unaware that the rest of the group had determined that path was unsafe and went north. Their chosen route then led them on a scary road surrounded by blazing trees and brush on either side as embers hit their windshield — a “hellscape” as Epstein put it.

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After driving for an hour or two, the couple finally escaped the wildfire and took shelter in a nearby hotel. As of Thursday afternoon, however, the blaze was still going strong, and evacuated residents weren’t allowed to return. Now they’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst while counting down the time until they can go back to see what is left of their home.

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