March 1, 2017
By , San Pedro, CA

It was three o’clock in the morning and I woke up to loud banging on the front door. The banging on the door was very rapid and strong. “Open up! Everyone wake up and evacuate!” someone yelled from the other end of the front door.
I quickly grabbed my coat from the hallway closet and put it over my shaking body. I opened the front door to very tall men in firefighter suits.
“Ma’am we need you to leave now. The fire is coming your way. You have no time to grab belongings just get you and anyone else out of this house now.” the firemen said with a look of fear in his eyes.
I couldn’t rely on my words at the moment so I nodded my head to let him know that I understand. I quickly ran up the stairs into the nursery and tried to wake up my three-year old without scaring her. As I was calling her name to wake her up, I grabbed the brown duffel bag from the closet on the top shelf. I put as much clothes as I can for my three year old and 6 month baby. I heard footsteps quickly coming up the staircase and my daughter looked at me frightened. She ran towards me and wrapped her arms around my leg as she saw the large man in uniform enter the room.
“Ma’am I need to get her out.” he said carrying her and grabbing the bag of clothes from my hand. “Okay get her out! I will get the baby.” I said as I grabbed multiple blankets to cover my six-month old baby's face.
I caressed her into my arms with blankets covering her and walked down the steps. As I got downstairs, I could smell the strong stench of smoke. I was about to run out the front door when I thought about grabbing baby formula because I knew Lily was about ready to be fed. I wasn’t going to let my baby be hungry during this scary time. I quickly grabbed the round container and made my way out the door. I walked outside and stopped in my footsteps in awe because my neighborhood was on fire. Lights were flashing from the fire trucks, smoke was entering the night skies, flames were rising as water was trying to over power, and people in uniform were running everywhere.
“Ma’am we need you moving. Get you and your baby into the car now!” shouted a woman.
I quickly put Lily in her carseat and noticed Lyla wasn’t in the car.
“Excuse me! Where is my daughter! The fireman took her out! Where is she?” I shouted at firemen running by. Finally one stopped and I repeated to him the same.
“Ma’am all evacuees are taken to Ohio University. Your daughter should be there!” He shouted over all the loud noise.
“How am I supposed to leave not knowing where she is at! She could be here alone for all I know!” I shouted right back angry at this point.
“Ma’am if you don’t leave now, you and your baby will not be safe.” he said as he looked behind his shoulder seeing the fire getting even closer.
I looked at my car and looked back at the fire and realized he was right. I ran to my car and got inside. I started the car and got out of the area as fast as I could. As soon as I noticed I was far enough to be out of the way I pulled over turned off the car as start. I didn't know what to do, I felt like I wasn’t doing my job as a mother to keep my children safe.
I was wishing for my husband to be here right now in hopes that this would've never happened. My husband passed away nine months ago from a car accident. He didn’t get to see our second child born. He wasn’t beside me to witness Lily enter the world, and now he is not here to tell me everything will be okay.
I snapped out of my breakdown when I heard several fire trucks drive by quickly with their loud sirens. I turned the car back on, put it into drive, and made my way to the evacuee center. It was now my job as a mother, to find my daughter.

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