AGOURA HILLS, CA – From the entrance of Ilan Ramon Day School in Agoura Hills you can see some burns left over from the Woolsey fire.

  • Students return to school after Woolsey fire
  • Fire destroyed four buildings
  • Damage cost the school more than $1 million

Now students are finally back on campus after the deadly Woolsey fire in November 2018. During the wildfire and the extensive cleanup, students were moved to another synagogue.

“The fire department were heroic. That’s the only thing you can say,” said Yuri Hronsky, the head of Ilan Ramon Day School.

Hronsky started at the school 18 years ago as a teacher and says he has never seen anything this bad. After faculty left the grounds, Hronsky could only come back with a special escort from the sheriff’s department the following week.

“It was eerie. I mean the 101 was empty and it was still smoky and dark,” said Hronsky.

The fire destroyed four buildings and cost the school more than $1 million so far.

What didn’t burn was covered in ash and had to be thoroughly cleaned. Cleanup took a while with all the rain lately. At the same time the rain is also why the hills are green again.

“It just scared me and I started to cry,” said Lindsay Freund, a fifth grader.

When Freund got out of school on November 8, she could see the smoke. More than 150 students go to school with Freund. Many of them were not only evacuating their school, but their homes too.

“I mean I knew we would come back, but I didn’t know if it would be the same at all or way different,” said Freund.

“The worst of the worst thoughts went through my head that this was the end that there was no way to come back from this,” said Hronsky.

Some things— even some buildings— are still missing, but hope is alive.