Thomas Fire Impact

This month’s newsletter is going to be a bit more personal than our usual newsletters, Hampton Fitness has gone through a lot in the last month that we would like to touch on.

As many of you know, our Hampton Fitness headquarters is based in Ventura, California. Ventura is 65 miles north of Los Angeles.

On Monday, December 4th, the Thomas Fire began just outside of Ventura. Immediately, the air was filled with thick smoke and the amount of debris and ash in the air forced employees living in the area to retreat indoors or wear facemarks while outside due to the poor air quality. Hampton Fitness Products was forced to shut its doors and hold off on all deliveries and shipments during this time as it was not a safe environment for the warehouse employees or office employees to do their work without the threat of suffering physical repercussions from doing so.

By December 10th it had spread all the way north to Santa Barbara where the rest of the Hampton Fitness employees live. The fire now had spread 237,500 acres and was not yet contained. Hampton employees living in Santa Barbara were now mandatory evacuation. This evacuation would not be lifted until December 23rd. During this time the Hampton Ventura employees were able to put in extra time and hours in order to make up for time lost during their own evacuation and continue to get orders taken and shipped out from the warehouse in Ventura all the way up to the holidays.

By the time the fire was under control, 1,063 structures were destroyed. 280 structures were damaged.

Then, on January 9th, a Monday night, a rain storm pushed into the Santa Ynez range above the town of Montecito.

Because of the severity of the burned landscape, the vegetation that would normally be able to soak up floodwater no longer existed.

“All these hills normally have a protective cover of chaparral,” said Tom Fayram, Santa Barbara’s deputy director of public works. “That’s all gone. Almost 100% gone.”

Given the circumstances, it takes hardly any rain to produce a mudslide.

“About a half an inch per hour can start to produce issues, mudslides,” Robbie Monroe of the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office told CNN.

By 2 a.m., disaster was unfolding with astounding intensity and speed. Rainwater poured down canyons, picking up ash, dirt, sticks and boulders.

The debris ruptured a gas main. Four homes on Park Lane began to burn.

At 3:38 a.m., the storm unleashed its rain on the mountainside, dropping a half-inch in five minutes that drenched miles of precipitous terrain before draining into four creeks that cross Montecito to the ocean.

Boulders crushed cars. Mud and logs tore houses apart as if they were made of paper.

montecito mud slides
Above: a first responder assesses the damage done to a home effected by the mudslide.

People stood little chance. So far, the death toll of this area is at twenty-one lives.

Two children are still missing. It has now been twenty days since the mudslide occurred.

During this unbelievable disaster, the 101 freeway from Santa Barbara into Ventura was closed. It remained closed for over a week, leaving several of Hampton’s office employees without any way of getting into the office. A train service was provided after the first week since the damage occurred. Taking a boat was the only other option.

We know that many of you probably have your daily battles which we know nothing about, but may prevent you or your customers from getting to your gyms safely. Be it hurricanes in Florida, snow in the midwest or your own personal health issues that you may be dealing with quietly, we applaud all of you and would like to reach out to help support you in any way that you may need.

The good news in all of this is that Hampton Fitness is up and running at one hundred percent right now and we are very much looking forward to getting back to the norm.

Community in Southern California has proven so strong. Nothing stands out more than what we are able to do as a team when times are tough.

Follow the hashtag #805strong in order to keep up-to-date on the latest updates on the mudslide victims or if you are looking for a way to help.

Wishing you and your own community the best in 2018. Stay strong.