Actor flees apocalypse in the dead of night
SOUTHEAST Queensland actor Kathryn Beck has spoken of the terror of fleeing her Malibu, California home in the middle of the night with her four-month-old daughter, as howling winds and flames continued to devastate the area.
With her husband out of town, Beck, 32 - who only moved into her Agoura Hills home one month ago - woke in the night to her crying baby when she discovered text messages from a friend telling her to evacuate.
"I went outside and the neighbours were all out and they said 'look behind you'. I turned around and… the sky was just all lit up and you could see the fire," Beck said.
"It was so windy. It was blowing my body. It was really strong. You could hear it in the house, just that haunted wind sound.
"I was like, 'we need to get out; there's no way we can stay here'."
Authorities evacuated the Agoura Hills area of California at 3am (local time) on Friday as a panicked Beck packed her car, grabbing a handful of nappies, breast milk, her breast pump and a few items of clothing for her and baby Eden Blu.
"Even packing up, you're thinking it can't be that bad. Of course I'll be able to come back in a day or two," she said.
"I called my husband and said, 'Is there stuff I should take?' and he said, 'No, just get out.' "
Leaving the family's passports, Beck made a dash to a friend's house in the safe nearby area of Woodland Hills.
Beck said it resembled a movie as homeowners flooded the exiting highways.
"It was the middle of the night but it (the highway) was busy," she said.
"Everybody was shifting. I had a friend who got stuck on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) for five hours and all the smoke was blowing over them. It's kind of surreal."
At her friend's house Beck sat "glued to the news" as the fire ravaged the surrounding area, including destroying a property 200m from her home.
Fleeing to the east coast yesterday to escape the smoky air, for Eden's health, Beck now faces an anxious wait to find out if her new family home has survived the blaze.
"We naturally hope for the best, so we just assume I guess that it's going to be there," she said.
"It's so scary. It's not even the right word just to say it's so tragic, but it is. You hear people say this but you just don't expect it to actually happen."
She added that when they moved in she had been stumped as to why the old home had sprinklers installed on the roof.
"My mother-in-law said 'no, that's really smart, don't let them take them off … that's really clever if there is a fire'. Of course I had no idea how to turn them on," Beck said.
The QUT graduate, who grew up in Wellington Point, southeast of Brisbane, moved to Los Angeles three years ago after long-running stints on popular TV series Neighbours and Wentworth Prison.