Fans of the popular reality show can breathe a sigh of relief, because a teenage neighbor reportedly saved the Bachelor Mansion from the California wildfires. Early reports on Friday, Nov. 9 had indicated that the familiar structure in Agoura Hills, California had been heavily damaged if not destroyed by the Woolsey Fire, which is currently devastating the state. But thankfully, by early this week, it became clear that those initial reports weren't quite accurate. On Tuesday, 16-year-old Ava Friedman sat down with Entertainment Tonight to share her own involvement in saving the mansion from destruction.
Friedman lives next door to the famous home, which is inhabited by a family for the majority of the year and rented out to Bachelor Nation during filming. She and her father had been evacuated from the area alongside their neighbors. But when they returned on Friday to check on their own home and discovered that the property next door was engulfed in flames, Friedman knew there was no time to lose. She told the outlet: "We wanted to get this fire out as quickly as possible, so we got into our car and we tried to catch the attention of a fire engine."
With so many fires in the area, emergency services might not have noticed the blaze on their own. But because of Friedman and her dad's intervention, firefighters knew just where to apply their resources, she said:
"These brave men and women went to the fire as soon as we told them this, and thankfully they put it out. I'm just happy there wasn't any more damage."
The damage she's referring to was limited to two other structures on the property that were destroyed. But the mansion — which is called Villa De La Vina — still stands. It's amazing news, and before any cynicism starts to sneak in to taint it, you should know that Friedman says that they didn't go out of their way for the structure just because she'd seen it on TV.
She's lived next door to the property for over five years, and says everyone on it has always been "respectful," but that this move was much more about community than fame. Friedman told the outlet:
"The first thing that comes to your mind when you see that is danger, it doesn't matter whose house it is. We're all just trying to help each other up here, especially in this difficult time. I just wanted to help out and my dad wanted to help out... we were just like, 'OK, we just need to do something as soon as we can."
She shared that it was really hard to see the damage that had already been done, but one person who likely isn't thinking that way is the mansion's owner, Marshall Haraden. In his own interview with ET, he said he'd been told that the house burned to the ground: "A friend of mine called me... they said, 'Dude, I just went by your house. Your house is gone.'" But instead, because of Friedman's quick thinking, the house survived; Haraden said he went up to look at the property on Monday, Nov. 12 and, in his words, is "real happy about what I saw."
It's a relief to get a bit of good news in this string of tragedies, that Villa De La Vina lives to fight another day, and will continue to house Haraden and his family, as well as future seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.