Modjeska and Silverado Canyons and the 2007 Santiago Fire


Canyon resident and reserve firefighter

Marc Grossman


OH 4152  
Narrator Marc Grossman
Interviewer Volker Janssen
Date June 21, 2008
Language English
Location Modjeska Canyon, Orange County, California
Project 2007 Santiago Fire
Format(s) Audio; Video
Other Field Notes
Abstract An oral history with reserve firefighter Marc Grossman, a California resident since 1960. This interview was conducted for the Center for Oral and Public History and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary about the Santiago Fire in Modjeska Canyon in October 2007. The purpose of this interview was to gather information about Grossman's background preceding his move into the canyon, life in the canyon, and his role in the firefighting efforts during the Santiago fire. The conversation focuses especially on Grossman's upbringing in Gardena, California, the San Fernando Valley, and Orange County; his move into Modjeska Canyon in 1980; his involvement with Fire Station 16; the benefits of a rural community and its challenges for a bachelor; his first emergency call; the danger of amateur fire-fighting; concerns with development; local complacency and the lack of personal disaster preparation; Santiago Fire: on fire patrol; watching the fire expand westward; first strike east of Santiago Canyon Road; surrounded by fire and drop-off; the decision to deploy shelters; the burn-over; getting back on the line; his personal evacuation; withdrawing strike teams from Modjeska Canyon – and going back in; deciding on salvageable property; working with firefighters from across the nation; measuring loss and triumph; the media interest in shelter deployment; warnings against disaster self-help; coping with change in the canyon and Southern California; balancing safety and freedom.
Video Parts 1-2 (watch online - coming soon!)
Audio Part 1 (download.mp3)
Part 2 (download.mp3)
Transcript Text (download.pdfPDF File)