"I've been in law enforcement for 32 years and have never been as emotionally affected by anything as I was today. . . . To watch a fire come down so close to the Laguna Beach Arts Center and other things that are dear to the image of this community was really frightening." --Brad Gates, O.C. sheriff, after surveying the fire damage.
"I felt an awful churning in the gut and rage that anyone would do a thing like that to cause such devastation. A lot of those Emerald Bay houses were owned by older families that had lived there for 30 years. " --E.M. Nathanson, author, reacting to news that police suspect an arsonist.
"When we were evacuated from our home in Corona del Mar, we took our family pictures but a lot of people didn't even have an opportunity to get those out. I am just thankful to God that nobody has been killed. That has been a miracle." --Gary Hunt, Irvine Co. executive vice president, whose home was briefly threatened.
"As long as you weren't looking to the left up high it still looked like that little village, but as we toured the canyon areas where the fire had been so devastating, there was nothing left but smokestacks." --Thomas F. Riley, O.C. supervisor, after viewing the damage with Gov. Pete Wilson.
"We are all forever changed by major events in our lives, whether we're individuals or a community. This will be one of the legends of our city. . . . I think we're going to find there are lots of things that are gone in our lives." --Robert F. Gentry, three-time mayor of Laguna Beach, whose Mystic Hills home was destroyed.
"It's very upsetting, you just have a totally helpless feeling. It reminded me of when I was 8 and there was a terrible earthquake in Compton that knocked our house down. We had to live in a tent for three or four weeks. It's really sad." --John Crean, businessman and philanthropist, who lives in Newport Beach.
"You can't help but put yourself in the shoes of the people who are experiencing this tremendous loss. . . . These are places that are a big part of people's lives--I don't care if you live in a $1-million home in Laguna Beach or a modest tract home in Irvine. It's still home." --Larry Agran, former mayor of Irvine, which evacuated some residents when fire threatened Turtle Rock.