Recent Press

TREASURES OUT OF RUBBLE : Families express regret and gratitude after Tea Fire

Amid the ruins of her home, Jenna Fikes found the shoe that would keep her safe on her “planet of nightmares.” “It was a ceramic shoe that I made in the 5th grade,” the 16-year-old Montecito resident said. “I wrote a story about it being on a planet where all the nightmares go.” The shoe survived a real-life nightmare — the total loss of the Fikes’ home. Jenna found it Monday while digging through the rubble for the things she and her parents wished they had packed as the Tea Fire charged their home on Westmont Road. more

Whitworth to send support to Westmont students

Whitworth plans to send notes and gifts of encouragement this week to peers at Westmont College, whose campus was ravaged by a wildfire Nov. 13. The fire, known as the Tea Fire, burned through 1,500 acres in Santa Barbara County, Calif., last week, including eight buildings of the Westmont campus. more

Fired-Up Westmont Wins Conference Championship: A Victory Amid the Ruins

Westmont College’s soccer team overcame fire with fire Monday. The Warriors, whose coach and several players lost their homes to the Tea Fire four days earlier, put forth a blazing effort at both ends of the pitch and defeated Azusa Pacific 2-0 for the championship of the Golden State Athletic Conference. more

Sorting Through the Rubble

Westmont College professors and students began sifting through the ashes yesterday as some coped with the loss of their homes and departments. more

Tea Fire: Westmont Recovery

Thousand of student and faculty were forced to evacuate Westmont College after the destruct Tea Fire broke out last Thursday. The university’s president announced classes will not resume until after the Thanksgiving holiday, on December 1st. more video

Focus on recovery : Residents look ahead as reality of Tea Fire sinks in

As authorities make progress containing the 2,000 acre burn area, victims of the Tea Fire are focusing on recovery. The giving nature of Santa Barbarans had an impact on Westmont communication professor Greg Spencer and his wife Janet, whose house on Las Barrancas was damaged in the fire. “It looks like a war zone in our neighborhood,” Mrs. Spencer said. The Spencers had not even begun to evacuate when they got a call from a church friend offering shelter to the couple and their pets, Mocha and Willy. more

School still out at Westmont College due to Tea Fire

School is still out at Westmont College in Montecito, where crews are busy cleaning up the mess the Tea Fire left behind.

Flames destroyed several buildings on campus, including the physics, psychology, and old math buildings. The fire also damaged faculty offices and four residence halls. more

Westmont College students, faculty members lose dwellings in fire

The Tea fire burned capriciously through Westmont College in Montecito, destroying nearly two dozen buildings while leaving others untouched. College spokesman Scott Craig said he was in his office about 6:30 p.m. Thursday when he saw 100-foot flames shooting down a mountainside toward the campus. He fled to the campus gym. more

Fast-moving fires destroy Southern California homes

Southern Californians weathered a third straight day of devastation Saturday as wind-blasted wildfires destroyed 500 mobile homes, shut down major freeways and forced thousands of residents in the path of flames to flee to safety in three counties. Gov. Schwarzenegger this morning toured the area of Montecitodevastated by the Tea Fire. Schwarzenegger toured an area of Circle Drive in Santa Barbara where some homes were destroyed and others saved. He also toured the Westmont College campus where several buildings burned and made an appearance at the command headquarters at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. more

Westmont College emerges safe, but not unscathed

Reporting from Montecito — The Westmont College gym was itchy hot and getting hotter. Eye-burning smoke seeped inside, despite the blue duct tape covering the cracks between the double doors. As campus officials repeatedly assured about 800 students and faculty that this sturdy, cinder-block gym was the safest place to be, some evacuees formed prayer circles on the wooden floor. more

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