ANAHEIM HILLS, CA (BRAIN)—Brian Stanley is a lucky man, and he knows it.
Shimano's former public relations manager who worked at the company for the better part of the 1990s lost his house last weekend to the fires that have recently ravaged various parts of Southern California.
"My family is all right," said Stanley, knowing that he could have lost much more than just his house. "That's all I cared about. It just really puts things into perspective."
The largest of the three wildfires and the one that destroyed Stanley's home, the Freeway Complex Fire (pictured), was 75 percent contained as of mid-week, according to the Orange County Fire Department.
The fire has burned through nearly 29,000 acres in Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside counties. Most of the damage was in the Orange County suburbs of Anaheim and Yorba Linda. The fire destroyed some 155 structures and damaged 104, fire officials said. Nine firefighters suffered minor injuries. Nearly 3,700 firefighters remained on scene, battling the flames.
The fast moving fire, whipped up by 40 mile per hour winds, jumped the nearby ten lane freeway and gave Stanley's neighborhood very little time to evacuate.
As the flames moved up the hillside in the backyard, Stanley had just enough time to grab his four-year-old son Andrew, a few critical documents and his wedding ring and wedding album. His wife, Michelle, was safely out of the house that morning, unaware of the impending catastrophe.
Even though Stanley was able to quickly gather those important keepsakes, Stanley wasn't able to save any of his industry mementos, whether it be athletes' signings or books.
"Working at Shimano was one of the greatest experiences of my life," said Stanley, who also served as general manager for Mavic for two years. "I've got [Shimano] guys in Japan calling me, asking me if I'm all right."
Fortunately for the Stanleys the family does has a strong insurance company helping them out through this tramatic time.
"We're going to rebuild," Stanley said emphatically. He added that there's a silver lining to all of this. "We'll now have a house that's updated."