Deseriee Edman survived two unimaginable tragedies in less than 24 hours, when she was forced to flee her family home from the California wildfires a day after escaping the mass shooting inside the Borderline Bar & Grill

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November 17, 2018 01:30 PM

Deseriee Edman survived two unimaginable tragedies in less than 24 hours.

Deseriee was forced to flee her family home from the California wildfires just one day after escaping the mass shooting inside the Borderline Bar & Grill.

Two near-death experiences that you just don’t expect,” she told locals news station KCBS of the horror, admitting she’s still processing what happened. “I’m trying to stay strong as possible for my family and my friends. And I’m trying to look at everything as positive as I can in these types of situations.”

Deseriee was spending time at the Thousand Oaks bar during its weekly “College Country Night” on Nov. 7 when a Marine Corps veteran entered and opened fire. A dozen people were slain in the mass shooting include a college freshman, a seasoned law enforcement officer, a recent college graduate and an aspiring Army recruit whom his father called his “best friend.”

Shots were first reported at about 11:20 p.m., and left a dozen others wounded in the attack. The gunman was found dead in the bar of suicide.

RELATED: These Are the Victims of California Mass Shooting, Including a Survivor of the Las Vegas Massacre

Families embrace at the scene of the Borderline Shooting
Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty

While Deseriee was able to survive the shooting, the following day, the Woolsey Fire — one of three deadly fires that broke out Nov. 8 in California — engulfed her Malibu home in flames. She and her family were able to evacuate in the knick of time.

“The fire was everywhere,” Deseriee’s mother Carmen Edman told KCBS, explaining that their property burned to the ground. “I was in panic mode since Wednesday night, since that phone call, and stress levels were off the charts.”

High winds, low humidity and dry vegetation have stoked the fires, causing them to quickly spread throughout the state.

As of Saturday morning, the Woolsey Fire has traveled 98,362 acres, CalFire reported, leveling 836 buildings and taking the lives of 3 people. It is 82 percent contained.

RELATED: How to Help the Victims of the California Wildfires

The Woolsey Fire burning through Malibu
David McNew/Getty

The Camp Fire, burning in Northern California, has been far more ruinous, CalFire reported. At just 55 percent contained as of Saturday, it’s already destroyed 48,000 acres of land in Northern California; flatted 9,844 residences, 336 commercial and 2,076 other buildings; and taken the lives of a total of 71 people.

That’s more than double the number from the second-deadliest wildfire in state history — the 1933 Griffith Park fire in Los Angeles, per Mercury News. And there are still 1,011 people missing.

Luckily, the Hill Fire was 100 perfect contained as of Friday night, CalFire reported. It was also ignited in Ventura County and destroyed 4,531 acres of property, coincidentally near the Borderline Bar and Grill.

Deseriee Edman
KCAL/KCBS

RELATED: How to Help the Victims of the California Wildfires

As tough as it has been on the Edman family, all have appeared to remain positive.

“The fact is we made it out alive, and my sister survived and we’re here,” Deseriee’s sister, Destiny Malibu, told KCBS.

“Twelve people didn’t go home,” Carmen continued, specifically mentioning Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, whom she credited for saving Deseriee’s life. “Ron didn’t go home, neither did Justin, Christina… all these people that were there. Good people. It’s really tragic that this happened in our city — in Borderline, and that Ron had to pass. It’s just tragic.”

Helus, a 54-year-old sergeant with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed along with 11 other people at the Borderline Bar & Grill. Authorities said he was shot multiple times as he entered the bar and later died at the hospital. He leaves behind his wife and their son, Jordan.

“He went into save lives, to save other people,” Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters at the time. “He was totally committed, he gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero.”

To help victims of the California wildfires, visit the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, the California Fire Foundation and the American Red Cross, for more information.

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