New Wabash doctor, family survive California wildfires

Flames engulf the hills around Ventura, Calif during the Thomas wildfire in December. (Photo provided)

By Joseph Slacian


The Thomas wildfire, which hit Ventura County, Calif., in December, is the largest wildfire in the state’s history.

The fire, which began Dec. 4, engulfed more than 281,000 acres, destroying more than 1,060 structures while killing two people, including a firefighter.

Many around the country watched the devastation via news reports and social media. Dr. Mitchell Oetken and his family had an eyewitness view as they watched the fire spread around the Ventura area. Fortunately, Oetken’s home was spared, but it was a close call as the fire came as close as 1 ½ miles away from the family’s home.

Posted on 2018 Jan 16