Strangers help man rescue grandparents from Woolsey Fire by boat

MALIBU, Calif. (KABC) -- On Friday morning, as the Woolsey Fire was raging, Pizza of Venice co-owner Jamie Woolner was worried sick about his grandparents.

The couple lives in Paradise Cove, and at the point the only way to get there was by boat.

"I found out from my mom that no one had been able to reach them since 10 a.m.," he said. "They didn't have electricity, they didn't have the news running to show that the flames had jumped over the Pacific Coast Highway."

Through social media, Woolner found complete strangers like Anthony Perez to help him. They helped Woolner get a yacht so he could swim to shore and reach his grandparents' beachside home.

The couple had lived through fires before and weren't worried about the flames, but Woolner said they were quickly approaching.

"I said to my grandfather, 'Grammy's really scared. She wants to leave but she's staying here because you want to stay.' And he loves her so much so he said, 'OK, OK, we'll leave.' Then I went inside and I said, 'Grammy, papa really wants to go but he's only staying here because you want to stay. Can you guys just go?'" Woolner recalled.

As they were leaving, a brush fire broke out right next to a construction site stocked with barrels of diesel fuel. The team of strangers put out that fire before taking Woolner's grandparents to safety.

"Really happy that we put that fire out because that could've made a bad situation into, like, a Paradise-Cove-is-completely-burnt-down situation," said Woolner.

He added that his grandparents are in Palm Springs, and they won't be returning until the evacuation orders are lifted.
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