Ring doorbell captures footage of firefighters at homes

Doorbell video brings sense of relief to evacuated families

Fire, ash and smoke approached the city of Oak Park on the night of Nov. 8. As mandatory evacuation orders forced many families to relocate, the Ring Video Doorbell captured the fire as it spread throughout the community.

Ring is a home security company that manufactures motion sensor cameras and doorbells that allow homeowners to stay alert and informed on the safety of their house. The video doorbell works by detecting motion when objects or people come near the door. A notification is sent to the mobile app, and users may see, hear and speak through the device. The security system’s main purposes are to monitor visitors at the door and help provide footage of burglaries to law enforcement.

When the Woolsey Fire came to Oak Park, Ring took on a new use.

Senior Emma Viane, senior Rachel Fekrat and junior Ashley Pernin all share a similar story on the night of the evacuation. In the midst of confusion, they turned to the Ring mobile app to monitor the condition of their homes.

“It was like the sensation where you don’t want to watch as an ember lands on the top of the house,” Fekreat said. “But it’s also like you can’t not look, you have to keep watching.”

While the livestream footage may have been another source of anxiety for some families, other students felt that the Ring system helped them cope with the disaster.

“I wasn’t really sure what was going on, but it was kind of relieving to know that when I looked at the video, [my house] wasn’t in flames,” Viane said.

In the videos captured through Ring, police cars and firetrucks can be seen driving through various neighborhoods in Oak Park in order to notify residents of the evacuation order and combat the approaching fire.

“The fact that there were people in our backyard was a good feeling,” Pernin said. “They were protecting our house.”