Private Firefighters Likely Saved Kim and Kanye’s Neighbors’ Homes

Video: Mountains are shown aflame near Malibu
By Sarah Le
Sarah Le
Sarah Le
reporter
Sarah Le is a reporter and editor for The Epoch Times in Southern California. She covers important general interest news events and topics in the state of California and the United States. She lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles.
November 19, 2018 Updated: November 19, 2018

When media reported that singer Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian-West used private firefighters to help save their $60 million house from a deadly wildfire, many people were shocked.

However, it’s likely that those firefighters protected the family’s neighbors’ homes as well.

News helicopters caught the Woolsey Fire in Southern California coming dangerously close to the Wests’ Southern California home in the Hidden Hills, where they live with their three children: 4-year-old North, 2-year-old Saint, and baby Chicago.

The family was forced to evacuate on Nov. 8, as the fast-burning fire threatened the nearby city of Calabasas, which is known to be a very high fire-hazard severity zone.

Luckily, a team of private firefighters, who are typically employed by insurance companies, was able to dig ditches and use hoses to keep the flames away from the Wests’ home, reported TMZ.

Since the house is located at the end of a cul-de-sac and borders an empty field, the firefighters’ work is believed to have saved other homes in the neighborhood.

A photo by Backgrid obtained by TMZ showed how close the fire came to the house and how easily it could have burned through the property and further down the street.

An insurance policy that includes such fire services can be pricy and could cost $2,500 to $8,000 a year, according to CBS News.

The private firefighters said they try to cooperate with local firefighters and not interfere with any work that’s already being done. Their work often consists of setting up sprinklers and moving anything flammable away from the houses. They also may use fire retardant.

“We always work with local authorities to make sure that our service is supplemental,” Frances O’Brien, who heads North American Personal Risk Services for Chubb, told CBS. “We are subject to the fire department’s ‘incident command,’ take their direction and obey evacuation orders.”

Kim Kardashian-West also recently voiced concerns for her community that the Santa Susana Field Lab, a former nuclear testing site in the San Fernando Valley, may have been affected by the Woolsey Fire.

The site experienced a partial meltdown accident in 1959, but the news was not made public until 1989.

A representative for California’s Department of Toxic Substance Control, Abbott Dutton, told Daily News in an email that the agency sent experts to the site to look for any damage caused by the fire.

“We confirmed that the SSFL facilities that previously handled radioactive and hazardous materials were not affected by the fire,” Dutton wrote. “Over the weekend our multiagency team took measurements of radiation and hazardous compounds, both on the site and in the surrounding community. The results from this initial round of testing showed no radiation levels above background levels, and no elevated levels of hazardous compounds other than those normally present after a wildfire.”

The Woolsey Fire has burned 96,949 acres and is 94 percent contained, with 1,500 structures destroyed as of Nov. 19. Three people were killed and three firefighters were injured.

Rain is expected to come to the Southern California area possibly starting Wednesday, which could increase the risk of mudslides for areas that recently burned.

The National Weather Service reported that up to 1 inch of rain is expected in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and warned of possible delays or dangers from any mudslides, especially during Thanksgiving travel.

Sarah Le
Sarah Le
reporter
Sarah Le is a reporter and editor for The Epoch Times in Southern California. She covers important general interest news events and topics in the state of California and the United States. She lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles.