Work site lost to California fire

December 12, 2017 GMT

VENTURA, CALIFORNIA | Ryanne Bustos took a short drive one week ago today (Tuesday) to see what remained of her former workplace, the administrative offices serving Vista del Mar Hospital in Ventura, a city through which wildfires have swept in recent days.

“All I saw was the frame of the building and ashes,” said the former Ryanne Harrington, a Storm Lake, Iowa, native and 2008 graduate of Storm Lake High School.

“Going up the hill gave me closure as that was my California work family for five years,” said Bustos, who met her future husband while working at the hospital. “I knew exactly where my desk was when I looked at all the ashes.”

Bustos lives in an apartment in Ventura and could see the flames as the electricity flickered then went out in her residential complex. Her husband, meantime, drove to his grandparents’ home near Ventura Avenue. Chris Bustos scaled the side of the home and took a position on the roof, spraying water from a hose to attempt to cool their back yard.

“This is the closest the fires have been to me,” said Ryanne, who moved west to California in 2011. “I only remember smaller brush fires before this. This is not like a tornado; this is a fire!”