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Biker haunt hosts fire fighters

Trabuco Canyon:

Cook's Corner, a biker haunt for 81 years, has become a de facto headquarters for firefighters fighting the Santiago flames since Monday.

On Tuesday, when the Santa Ana winds barreled into the Canyon and the flames came to about half a mile from Cook's Corner, manager Rhonda Palmerri, 37, recalls being told that they would have to evacuate immediately. They had begun pulling pictures and memorabilia together when the winds suddenly shifted and firefighters said they would no longer have to flee. "The firefighters promised that this place is not going anywhere," said Palmerri, who was wearing a pink bandanna and other biker regalia. "I love these guys."

In response to the arson named as the cause, Palmerri says, "It's sickening to me. Now we need to make sure we're safe and make sure we find the idiot who did this."

In their downtime, the firefighers are enjoying an outdoor barbecue and foods slathered in chili. Los Angeles County firefighter Anthony Jefferson, who arrived from the Malibu fires Tuesday evening, said as he finished off a barbecued hamburger and hot dog drowning in chili, "It's fantastic. It's the best camp food I've ever had."

--Hector Becerra


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