My daughter, age 25, lived in the Estancia Apartments on Old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa. She lost her apartment and all her belongings early on October 9. At 1:30 in the morning the power went out and shortly after that there were sirens on the frontage road and emergency vehicles with bullhorns yelling for everyone to evacuate. She had only a few minutes to locate her purse, shoes, and dog before leaving. She had to return to the apartment to get her keys. She left everything behind. She forgot to lock the door. She was one of the first people to leave the complex. There was no direction of where to go, the first responders just said to leave. She called her friend who said to go south so that's what she did. She tried to get to the freeway, highway 101 and there was a traffic jam. She finally made it to the freeway. There was fire on both sides of the road and embers blowing across the road. She could barely see because of all the smoke. She almost turned around because ahead of her cars were turning around and driving back the other direction in the carpool lane. Her friend told her to keep driving south, that there was no fire, so keep driving south. Luckily that's what she did. It took about an hour for her to drive about 5 miles but she was out of danger. At about 8am she drove to Livermore. The next day we learned her apartment burned to the ground along with all her belongings. The weekend before (October 8) she was home and cleaned out her bedroom of everything that was important to her and took it to Santa Rosa. Everything was lost in the fire. All her childhood memories, all her Christmas ornaments and decorations she has collected over the years, her souveniers from vacations and a trip to Europe right after high school, all gone. She took my grandmother's china and some of that survived but most was broken. We are lucky and count our blessings every day that we have our daughter, happy and healthy and thriving. She went back to Santa Rosa one week ago and is temporarily living in a mini apartment until something becomes available. (The best gift for victims at this point is gift cards). There is no place to store 'stuff' until more permanent housing becomes available. Everyone has been so kind and compassionate through this ordeal.
My daughter is very resilient. She is a CPA so I have purchased her a new work wardrobe, casual wardrobe, stuff for her dog, coats, basics, kitchen necessities, etc. probably spent several thousand dollars. I would do it again in a heartbeat. You cannot put a price tag on your child's life. It is priceless. She left with her dog and car and that is all. We are so lucky and blessed. Thank you for putting the word out that the victims need help. Unfortunately since my daughter has a decent job she does not qualify for any help from FEMA, United Way or any other government organization. Friends and family have been a godsend.
Thank you for reading my story.
Thanks, this is a tragic story and all to common I'm afraid. For thousands this will not be a happy festive season. Can you help please. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org subject donations, and I will pick up. We thank you in advance.