SANTA CLARITA, Ca. -- Dean Blauser, of Holland, is in California training local, state and federal authorities on how to detect and handle the drug fentanyl. This week, he said training stopped abruptly as wildfires moved in.
"The fire was right... surrounding the hotel," Blauser said.
His team was forced to evacuate their hotel with a co-workers wife who is eight months pregnant. Blauser said everyone was panicked.
"Especially the people at the hotel," he recalled.
"They kind of were running for their lives, trying to get into cars and people were running into each other," Blauser described.
He said there was a traffic jam and road blocks.
"Everybody was obeying the traffic signals, and I'm like 'No, really, there's a fire right here. You can run that red light,'" Blauser recalled.
This week, he's training the Mexican military. So he said he had the added responsibility of helping personnel and their interpreters get to safety. Blauser said everyone he was with is safe, and they were able to go back to their hotel which is still standing.
Despite the scare, Blauser is still focused on the task at hand.
"We're back out at the training center. [We worked] a little bit late today to get caught up but got to get the guys in their suits and trained up," he said.
Today, the fire forced I-405 to shut down. According to CNN, tens of thousands of people evacuated the area in the past three days and over 83,000 acres have burned.