Brush Fire Miracle: Area Smoker Relieved He Left Benedict Canyon When He Did

Los Angeles, CA — Frank Hernandez doesn’t usually consider himself a lucky man. But when news broke of a brush fire spreading in the hills of Benedict Canyon, he couldn’t help but feel grateful he left the area when he did. “Crazy, I was just up there,” says the habitual smoker. “Sounds like I got out of there in the nick of time.”

Hernandez says he had coincidentally just taken a stroll through the Benedict Canyon neighborhoods earlier this afternoon. “Lots of pretty views up there. And the houses – sheesh,” he says of the area where firefighters are now racing to contain the massive blaze. “And to think, if I had stayed to finish that cigarette, I might’ve been caught in that.”

The LAFD says the cause is unknown.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 75 homes had been evacuated since the first report at 2 p.m. near Portola Drive, and the blaze’s coverage was approaching 40 acres. “2 p.m.? Portola Drive?…”

“Wow. I literally just missed it,” Hernandez reports, flicking a smoldering cigarette butt into his flower bed.