Rocío, in front of the area of burnt woodland with her house in the background L. Cádiz
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'I thought we were going to die': Residents recount horror stories of the Mijas wildfire

Some people were awakened just moments before the flames swept through their homes, fleeing in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes they had on their backs

Lorena Cádiz


Tuesday, 14 November 2023, 10:13

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Residents in Mijas have told of their horror when they were awoken in the middle of night by flames raging just outside their windows.

The wildfire in the Costa del Sol municipality at the weekend, forced the evacuation of some 300 people from their homes, before it was declared 'stabilised' by Sunday afternoon and 'controlled' yesterday (Monday 13 November).

It was 4.30am on Sunday when Rocío's phone rang. She was in bed, fast asleep, and when she picked it up. Someone on the other end of the line was telling her to get out of the house because the fire was so close to her home. Still half asleep, she got up, pulled back the curtains in the living room and "it was all flames". "I've never been more scared in my life, when I opened the door and saw it all orange in front of us, I thought we were going to die," she said.

She and her partner ran out the back of their house on Camino Valtocado in Mijas. "We tried to grab the cats, but it was impossible. We had time to catch the dog and run, because the fire was behind us," Rocío said. "Luckily the children weren't at home," she added. "If they hadn't called me, my husband and I would have been killed that night."


Further up the road from Rocío's house lives a Scottish couple with their dogs. They were luckily away on the night of the fire and returned on Monday 13 November. But they returned to a house that no longer has electricity or running water after it was damaged in the blaze.

The fire is believed to have started from an electrical transformer in the area. Neighbour Alejandro claimed to have seen how it sparked and reported the incident to Guardia Civil. "Here there are always power cuts in all the houses, whenever there is wind, the electricity goes out," he said. Investigations are now under way.

Anne explains what happened, in front of her plot, scorched by flames. L. Cadiz

Above Alejandro's house lives Anne with her husband and two dogs. They too were sleeping when they heard someone banging loudly on the door. It was a fireman telling them to run out of the house and to cover their mouths with a damp cloth due to the amount of smoke swirling around them. In their pyjamas, they ran to the car and managed to flee to a car park outside the risk area. From there, they watched the fire engulf their beloved neighbourhood. "I told my husband that we had lost everything, and he said no, we had the most important thing, which is us," Anne said.

"My body is bruised"

Nicole, who didn't wish to provide her real name, was with two other women at her family home when the fire also caught them by surprise. They were warned by their neighbour down the road and all of them, with their mouths covered by a damp cloth, walked through the middle of the bush, dodging flames until they reached safety. "My body is bruised," Nicole said, still in tears. "We feared for our lives," she added. "It was a matter of seconds, when we realised we were surrounded."

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