Deseriee Edman was inside the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, when a gunman burst in and opened fire, killing 12 people.
Edman was able to make it out of the bar with her life, but wasn’t able to escape the next disaster to strike the area: a raging wildfire that destroyed her home just hours after she survived the shooting.
The California woman is opening up about her tragic week, telling CBS Los Angeles about how the tragedy of the bar shooting was followed almost immediately by one of the most destructive wildfires the state has seen in years.
“Two near-death experiences that you just don’t expect,” Edman said. “I’m trying to stay strong as possible for my family and my friends. And I’m trying to look at everything as positive as I can in these types of situations.”
Deseriee was nearly caught up in the wildfire, her mother explained. Their Malibu home was quickly overtaken by the flames, but the family was able to get out just before it burned to the ground.
Many others were not so lucky. The Woolsey Fire has left at least three people dead and destroyed more than 1,000 structures, ABC 7 reported. Further north in the state, the Camp Fire has claimed close to 70 lives, and officials expect the death toll to continue to climb as search crews comb over the burned-down neighborhoods.
Officials said the Woolsey Fire is now more than 80 percent contained, but the destruction has been widespread. Many residents are only now able to return to survey the damage to their homes.
“More residents of Los Angeles and Ventura counties were returning to their homes in the Woolsey Fire burn area on Saturday, days after the blaze of 98,362 acres forced them to evacuate,” the report noted. “An evening update from firefighters indicated the count of structures destroyed has climbed to 1,008 — up from a morning estimate of 836.”
“Two near-death experiences that you just don’t expect,” she told locals news station KCBS of the horror, admitting she’s still processing what happened. https://t.co/7QpuY9WCRL #CaliforniaFires #UnitedStates— Francisco Taveira (@jftaveira1993) November 17, 2018
The family of Deseriee Edman said they are grateful that everyone in the family survived the back-to-back tragedies, and her sister said they are well aware that 12 others never made it out of the bar. The family specifically remembers Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who arrived first on the scene of the shooting and ran inside without backup to confront the gunman. Helus was killed, but Deseriee’s sister said his brave actions saved Deseriee’s life and the lives of many others in the bar that night. The Edman family attended a funeral procession for Sgt. Helus this week.