CZU Complex Fire

Santa Cruz Resident Outruns CZU Complex Fire

NBC Universal, Inc.

The CZU Complex Fire burning in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties had people running for their lives overnight.

Jason Hickey is still stunned he is alive Wednesday saying that in eight hours, he’s had more close calls than he can count -- spending the entire night trying to outrun and outsmart the wildfire.  

He packed up his truck but couldn't find his keys, so he ran to his neighbors house and took his car.

“The house is burned up in the driveway. There were dead horses and peacocks. I lost my truck, my RV, my cabin,” said Hickey, who lives north of Davenport. 

But he couldn’t even stop to think about that. The car's window wouldn't roll up and as he drove through what he describes as a “cinder tornado,” the station wagon ignited.

“I couldn’t keep up and then all the sudden something in the glove compartment exploded and I just had to get out and everything around me melted it just melted,” said Hickey.

He took off running and spent hours dodging flames  all while carrying his bunny in a cage. 

“It was really scary like a monster is going after you. It was so, so scary,” he said.

Hickey says he followed a path of burned out zones while gusts over 50 miles an hour pushed the flames closer to him. 

“I thought I was gonna die. I thought I was gonna get cooked,” Hickey said.

He finally made it to a road Wednesday morning and was picked up by a firefighter, relieved to have cheated death.

“I can’t believe I’m alive,” he said, reunited with his family late Wednesday morning.

Incredibly he suffered no major injuries, sadly his bunny died and the fire destroyed his property.

Now, he worries who else may not have made it out.

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