OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — Wednesday was a regular day for Joe and Kayla Michielli until a brush fire erupted and forced them to evacuate their home near Oregon City. But they also needed to evacuate their 14 horses.
“I noticed by the power lines that there was smoke. I could smell it and see the smoke,” Kayla told KOIN 6 News. “Immediately the adrenaline set in. We figured we needed to get the horses out.”
The family and neighbors jumped into action.
“My son and I were on deck fighting the fire with the fire fighters as it was burning up to the house. It was pretty intense,” Joe said.
At one point, about 150 firefighters were on their property working to save their house and stables. All 14 horses got out safely, including a pregnant mare.
The Michiellis said they couldn’t be more grateful.
“I can’t thank them enough. I ate pizza with them last night and got to know them. Just the self sacrifice they make is so impressive,” they said. “I told them all, looks like I’ll be buying a bunch of beers. I don’t think words can express my gratitude.”
Fire Captain Matt Wiken said crews are in the mop up stage and checking for hot spots and making sure the containment lines are good.
“It takes just one spark and off we go again, so that’s why we want to keep an eye on it all time,” Wiken said.
He said the power lines were turned off for a while but have since been restored.
The Michiellis planned for an evacuation and their planning paid off. Now their message to the community is to have a plan now and be prepared to put that plan into action at a moment’s notice.
“I think just having a game plan. You don’t know it’s gonna happen until it happens. If you don’t have a plan, you’re gonna lose a lot more.”
“It was a long night,” they said, “but everything worked out for the best.”