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The firefight moves to Slymar

November 15, 2008 |  4:50 am

An explosive brush fire driven by 60-mph gusts ripped through Sylmar late Friday night, burning uncounted homes before leaping both the 210 and 5 Freeways and tearing into dense neighborhoods.

The fast-moving and chaotic fire drove residents scrambling from their hillside homes, as a storm of embers ignited spot fires across a broad swath of the Sylmar area.

More than 1,500 acres had burned by 3 a.m. Saturday, with more than 1,000 structures threatened by uncontrolled flames and about 5,000 residents under mandatory evacuation.

At 1:30 a.m. the blaze surrounded Olive View Hospital, where 200 patients were sheltered in place with hospital staff as a phalanx of firefighters fought back flames.

-- Jason Felch and Andrew Blankstein