Former U.S. national team star Eric Wynalda
's house burned down early Friday morning in the fast-moving Woolsey Fire that swept through the area of the border of Ventura County and Los Angeles
County, north of Los Angeles.
Wynalda's wife and six children had left shortly after they received an alert of a voluntary evacuation at 12:30 a.m. Wynalda
stayed until 3 a.m. when police knocked on his door and told him he had to leave.
“The firetrucks weren’t even there yet,” Wynalda told the San Diego Union Tribune
. “I went across the street and
got an elevated look at the fire and I was like, ‘OK, that’s not good.’ There got to be so much smoke and ash that I couldn’t even see any more, so I left and got on the
He joined his family at his in-laws, who live in Corona, near Riverside,
about 100 miles from their home in Westlake Village. When he got there, he turned on the TV and saw his house burning. He said it was the only house in their 162-acre development that burned on Friday
Wynalda, who grew up in Westlake Village, had recently
been named the head coach and technical director of the USL's Las Vegas Lights
. He had been doing work for the Lights before returning home this week. The fire came a day after a gunman attacked a
country music bar in nearby Thousand Oaks. Twelve people were killed.
“All my memorabilia is gone. I only have memories now,” Wynalda told the Union Tribune's Mark
. “I feel terrible, but the reality is a couple nights ago there are people who will never see their sons and daughters again. I think we need to take stock of what’s real. You
can replace a house, you can just rebuild. But you’re never going to bring those people back. I’ll be fine.”
The Woolsey Fire spread throughout the day on Friday,
forcing mandatory evacuations that sent at least 200,000 residents from 75,000 homes as the fire reached Malibu, on the Pacific Coast. ABC7.com reported
that at least 150 homes were destroyed and police were investigating the deaths of
two people in Malibu.