(TNS) — The cantilevered palaces of Los Angeles' elite were under siege. "Apocalypse bags" were packed. LeBron James fled with his family and couldn't find a hotel room. News copters filmed the fire copters, as drivers on the 405 Freeway sailed through the fiery vortex and lived to Instagram it.
The Getty fire broke out along the freeway by Getty Center Drive after 1:30 a.m. Monday and blew up to more than 600 acres under Santa Ana winds, destroying eight homes and damaging five in Brentwood. Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate some of the priciest enclaves on Earth.
In a week of fires up and down the state, the Getty was not the biggest or most destructive. But fires that break out in Sepulveda Pass and roar up to the rich and famous — the last one, two years ago, went to the other side of the 405 in Bel-Air — have a way of becoming more than natural phenomenons. They become shared experiences that unfold in wall-to-wall TV coverage and dramatic social media images that speak to the city's character and inherent dangers.
Chad Ebert, 43, evacuated his Brentwood home and watched the flames in the predawn dark.