Incredible video shows couple driving THROUGH wildfire

  • Andre Epstein and Neda Monshat filmed their terrifying journey down a road almost entirely consumed by a raging California wildfire 
  • The couple didn't know the road had been considered too dangerous to drive on
  • Flames licked both sides of their car as they drove through the fire for 10 minutes
  • Smoke was so thick they could not see two feet in front of their car 
  • The couple kept activating the windsheild wipers as they hoped it would help their car not catch on fire
  • They feared the car would blow up, Epstein decribed the journey as a hell-scape

By Jessica Finn For Dailymail.com

Published: 01:06 EDT, 13 October 2017 | Updated: 01:19 EDT, 13 October 2017

A couple in California filmed their harrowing journey through a flame engulfed road to escape the wildfires that would end up engulfing their home.

Andre Epstein and Neda Monshat were woken in the middle of the night at 1:30am Monday by a neighbor in their ranch community in Mendocino County alerting them that a wildfire was coming over a nearby hill and quickly approaching their home.

The married couple would take an unexpected drive north during which they filmed the road they were on was almost completely consumed in fire for a 10 minute stretch. 

'It was just like a hell-scape,' said Esptein. 

Flames licked at both sides of the road as the visibility in the smoke barely allowing them to see more than a few feet ahead
Flames licked at both sides of the road as the visibility in the smoke barely allowing them to see more than a few feet ahead

Flames licked at both sides of the road as the visibility in the smoke barely allowing them to see more than a few feet ahead

The raging fire had enormous pockets of flames. The couple feared their car would blow up 
The raging fire had enormous pockets of flames. The couple feared their car would blow up 

The raging fire had enormous pockets of flames. The couple feared their car would blow up 

Neda Monshat (right) and husband Andre Epstein (left) filmed their terrifying escape from California wildfires. They drove through flames that engulfed the road they were on
Neda Monshat (right) and husband Andre Epstein (left) filmed their terrifying escape from California wildfires. They drove through flames that engulfed the road they were on

Neda Monshat (right) and husband Andre Epstein (left) filmed their terrifying escape from California wildfires. They drove through flames that engulfed the road they were on

The smoke was so thick they could only see a few feet ahead at a time. 

'I was just worried the car was going to blow up,' Monshat said to SFGate. 

Epstein added that he repeatedly activated the windshield wipers, hoping the wiper fluid would somehow stop the car from catching on fire.

They had a better plan than the terrifying path they had to endure. 

After grabbing their most precious things, including their dog Jango and their laptops they couldn't find their car keys. 

Embers from the fire and thick smoke engulfed the road. Epstein described it as a 'hell scape'
Embers from the fire and thick smoke engulfed the road. Epstein described it as a 'hell scape'

Embers from the fire and thick smoke engulfed the road. Epstein described it as a 'hell scape'

Flames and embers were on both sides of the couple's car as they tried to get to safety 
Flames and embers were on both sides of the couple's car as they tried to get to safety 

Flames and embers were on both sides of the couple's car as they tried to get to safety 

The couple couldn't find their car keys. They were supposed to following their neighbors to safety- but waved them ahead as they all planned to meet at a location away from the raging fires. 

'The worst part wasn't the drive,' said Monshat to SFGate, 'It was looking for the keys. We looked up every few minutes and saw the fire blowing towards us.'

What Epstein and Monshat didn't know was the road they planned on using had become unsafe for driving- and their neighbors had taken a back road to escape to Eagle Peak Middle School in Redwood Valley.  

'We wouldn't have considered that way. It's a remote road with several creek crossings. At times, you need four-wheel drive. We didn't even consider going that way,' Epstein said

'We just drove around for an hour or two where it wasn't burning, not knowing what to do, just sort of in a daze,' said Monshat.

They decided to stay the night in a hotel. Since their Monday escape, the couple wanted to go back to see what's left of their ranch but the fire hasn't stopped and they aren't yet allowed to return. 

'I think everyone from our ranch is still in a bit of a daze because we haven't been able to go back and really see it. Even though we know it's gone, it gives you a sense of finality to see it and we haven't been able to,' said Epstein.

'Until then, we're in this kind of limbo.' 

'We want to live out there. That's the thing we keep thinking. We don't even care about the stuff. Everything can be rebuilt. It's all salvageable,' Monshat said. 'The thing you really miss is your life. You had all these neighbors around, people you see every day.'

Epstein agreed. If the community decides to rebuild, they'll be there to help.

Epstein told DailyMail.com that they know for sure they won't have much to return to. 'Unfortunately we lost our home.' 

 


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