Recent Press

Saving the Riviera: Firefighters Make a Valiant Stand on Las Alturas Road

At 5:45 p.m. last Thursday, homeowner Jerry Siegel spotted a fire burning above Westmont College from his house at 638 Las Alturas Road. “It seemed so small and far away that I didn’t think much about it,” he recalled. “My wife even wanted to take the dogs out for a walk, but instead we decided to stay home and keep track of the fire.” more

Bonfire built by students caused Montecito fire, sheriff says

A smoldering bonfire built by students on a ridge-top overlooking Montecito apparently sparked last week’s disastrous Tea fire, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Tuesday. Ten men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 22, had gathered at an abandoned property called the Teahouse late Wednesday night and built a bonfire to warm themselves, Brown said.Westmont College, a Christian university with 1,200 students, sits immediately below the mountain ridge where the Teahouse is located. But Brown would not confirm or deny that students from the private campus were involved. more

Developer gives wildfire refugees holiday homes

Santa has arrived early for some victims of the destructive Montecito wildfire, which incinerated 210 homes during a wind-driven run across 1,900 acres. Developer Nick Narang gave one of the condos to Westmont College seniors Jon Schoff and Ian Cook, who lost the house they shared with five other roommates. Cook says it’s a “real blessing.” more

The Daily Fix

Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., lost some of its facilities in last week’s wildfires. Soccer coach Dave Wolf and some players lost their homes. Then Westmont went out and played Azusa Pacific for a spot in the NAIA championship. more

Former GH woman loses house in Calif. fire

Given the recent winter weather, most Tri-Cities residents can only imagine the heat and dry weather that caused massive wildfires in southern California — but one Grand Haven native experienced it firsthand. Lisa DeBoer is the daughter of Dr. Arthur and Agnes DeBoer of Grand Haven Township. Now a professor at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., the former Grand Haven woman was having dinner with a guest lecturer last Thursday when they got a call about the fire approaching the town, she said. more


Recovering From Fire, Westmont Orders Temporary Housing and Sets Reopening

Westmont College, which lost a number of buildings Thursday evening when 70-mile-an-hour winds blew a wildfire across its campus, will remain closed until December 1. Crews are working to clean up the campus, and college officials are helping both faculty members who lost their on-campus homes and 67 students whose dormitories and off-campus residences were destroyed or damaged. more

Westmont Says Its Students Cleared of Tea Fire Wrongdoing

No Westmont College students are involved in the Tea Fire, according to school President Gayle Beebe, despite rampant speculation among area residents and media. more

North Prairie native eludes California wildfires

When North Prairie native Ashley Florian left her dormitory at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., Thursday afternoon for an off-campus ministry, she never expected it would rearrange her life for the next week. Florian and the rest of the group she was with started getting text messages and phone calls from classmates asking where they were and if they were safe. Florian said they went outside and looked toward the hills where school was, and all they saw was the orange glow of wildfires. more

Vail Christian grads escape California wildfire

With wildfires continuing to ravage the state of California, two former Vail, Colorado residents found themselves in the middle of the inferno last Thursday in Montecito. Westmont student Jake Blair graduated from Vail Christian High School in 2006, and was returning from doing laundry around 6 p.m. when he saw flames on a hillside along Highway 101. more

Westmont College deals with Tea fire damage

Santa Barbara County’s fire destructive “Tea” brushfire has finally been contained, afer destroying 210 homes, and blackening more than 19-hundred acres. KCLU’s Lance Orozco reports from one of the hardest hit areas….Westmont College….where a number of campus buildings, and faculty home were destroyed. more