The Devastation... first hand accounts of the fire.
In This Issue
in Santa Rosa
Northern California Fire
by ariana Deats
Youths who have set up a Relief care system for the victims of the fire
Heroes Look Like
The week starting on Sunday October 2, 2017 has been a snowball of down hill events. On the Sunday night of October 2nd at 10:08 pm shots were fired on crowds of people attending The Route 91 Harvest Festival. A barrage of automatic gunfire releasing around 1,000 rounds of ammo killed 58 people and wounded over 400. The following Monday as in the next morning was a surreal day for the entire valley of Las Vegas our very own hometown. Terror had come right to our doorstep. Later on in that same week we had text messages circulating to our children in the Las Vegas area that they would all die and be killed in a school shooting. Emotions were already at an elevated high with the Rout 91 massacre event, now our children were being threatened. It was at this moment that I personally lost control as the tears came streaming down the sobs were very personal. What has the world come to I asked myself as I was shaking in fear of sending my child to school . My son had just started Kindergarten this year in August and it was hard enough under normal circumstances to let him go, now we were facing a direct threat to a mass school shooting. It all worked out in the end two hours later our stellar police department arrested the individual who had made these heinous threats. The culprit an 18-year-old female from Centennial High School was in custody. She will be facing charges of making terroristic threats and making a bomb threat. Police do not believe Strickland intended to carry out the threat, saying there was no credible evidence.This all happened on Thursday morning on October 5th.
Now lets fast forward to Sunday night on October 8th.
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Northern California fire
The Week Prior
Photo credit unknown please contact us with any info
Thank you to
as always rising to the
fight and putting their lives
on the line to help others
In Santa Rosa, CA & the surrounding towns massive fires broke out all around the Napa Valley which is known world wide for being home to hundreds of hillside grape vineyards and wineries. Affected areas included but are not limited to : Santa Rosa, Geyserville,Clearlake,
Redwood,Rohnert Park,Kenwood,Mark West, and Kellogg.
The death toll for these fires is at 38 as of October 15, 2017. The number of damage to building and homes is around 5,700 a number that will undoubtedly rise as the days go on. 221,700 acres of land has been burned of Friday afternoon.
Santa Rosa and the towns and cities surrounding it are a fairly close nit community. Living in Santa Rosa we would always frequent the local movie theater, Airport Stadium in nearby Windsor, CA Many of our favorite restaurants were in Sebastopol another neighboring town with a frequent eatery, a Slice of Life. Montgomery village which is home to number of different mom and pop stores which have been family owned for decades like Cattlemans, a local favorite is now in danger and threat of being burned to the ground.
The Coffey Park area which is home to my nonna 's or grandmother's home on Sweetgum Ct from 1976-2014 is gone. Engulfed in flames. Jordan Edwards my cousin and his family which consist of a wife, two daughters, aged 6 and 4, along with a 4 month old son lost their home in this devastating fire as well that is still ongoing. Friends and family alike are scared to drive back home down their familiar roads and see all the damage that has been done to their home town and community.
The fires in Northern California hit hard and they hit fast. Some people barely got out and escaped the flames in time and others unfortunately did not escape the fireball barreling down on them. Some shining examples of you're never too young to do something is these two beautiful souls both aged 14 years old who stepped up in their towns time of need. Meet Ayla Rodriguez age: 14 She was with her mom, step-dad, sister, aunt, uncle, and cousin at the time this all started to happen.
Ayla: We were all staying at my aunt's house in Santa Rosa. Everyone was sleeping, I was on the couch watching a movie. Then at about 11 pm my aunt came out into the living room and said she smelled smoke, I did not smell anything so I didn’t think much of it. Then at about 1 am my aunt came out and she was talking to my grandpa on the phone. At the time I was half asleep so I wasn't processing what she was saying, I do remember her talking about a fire. Then at about 3 am my aunt got a call saying we had to evacuate.
When this happened we began to wake everyone up. It was hectic, everyone was running around grabbing what they could. When you went out side you could see flames peeking over a barn coming from the north. We did not know if the fire was miles away or just behind the barn. This was my first experience with a “disaster”, it felt unreal. I went from having fun at my aunt's house playing with my cousins, having nothing to worry about. To packing pictures and personal belongings as fast as I could. Hoping my mom's office, where she has put her blood, sweat, and tears wouldn’t burn down.
Local Youths set up Relief system
My aunt and her family went to my other aunt Desiree’s house in Graton. I went with my mom, step dad, and sister. At first we were going to Desiree’s house, but then we decided we were going to go to Sebastopol instead.
All my family was in different areas all around the fires. They were all trying to find information on the tragic event. While they were doing this you could see the look on their faces when they found something out. They look sad, depressed, and miserable.
My mom, aunt, sister Bronte, cousin Paris, and I were sitting on the couch and we talking about what we wanted to do to help everyone who was affected by the fires. After we came up with a plan Bronte, Paris, and I immediately sat down and started a Facebook and Instagram page dedicated to helping people who were evacuated. Then we started to contacted people on getting clothes and items.
Santa Rosa looks like a wasteland. There is smoke everywhere, people have masks on their faces, the stop lights are out so nobody knows when to go, and everyone looks depressed.
Currently we have twelve families who have either donated clothes or gift cards, helped us organize the donations we have received, and spread the word about our organization. We have many more families currently collecting donations to send to us. We extremely appreciative of everyone that has helped support us.
In my opinion everyone has been affected by the fire. Whether or not they lost their house, they still are affected because they might know family or friends that have lost everything so they might have to donate some this or let them say at their house. But I know multiple families who have lost everything or they evacuated and don’t know if they still have a house.
All of my family had been reading articles about what we can do. So we’ve learned that you have to put yourself in their shoes, because whatever they are given is going to be what they are going to use till they get back on their feet. So we have learned that it is really helpful if you pick a family you can help out. First you get their sizes and donated nice clothes and items. Then you put together a bag of everything they are going to need.
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Alya & Bronte Rodriguez Along with
Paris Shoopman Set up Local Relief
Many people donated their old clothes that they don’t want anymore. While they are being thoughtful, the people receiving them are going to be wearing these.
We have a Facebook and Instagram page dedicated to receiving donations of clothes and items for people who were affected by the fire.
When you go into the stores even waiting in line you can see everyone talking to each other and coming together in this time of tragedy. Even though something tragic happened everyone is coming together to support one another.
When you go down the street you see discouragement, pain, hopelessness, and sorrow. Some people have lost everything, and all they can can think about is what they have lost.
The schools in Sebastopol and Forestville are most likely going to open this coming Tuesday. I have heard that schools in Santa Rosa aren’t going to open till October 23 but I’m not sure if that is true or not.
Meet Paris Shoopman age 14 and what happened to her during the events of the fire and what inspired her to help set up this relief system: I was at my mother Melissa’s house out in Forestville when my mom woke me up. It was about 5 in the morning , she was yelling “Paris”!!! When I woke up she said we have to go. I asked why ? She said that there’s fires everywhere! Right away I started grabbing clothes, shoes, makeup and other important items. The smoke smelt so bad and it was very scary. I had never been in a disaster like this. It felt so unreal and I was panicking really bad.
Our landlord was watering down our house. It was very early in the morning. After packing what we thought we needed we got out right away. We immediately went to Windsor, which wasn’t a good idea because there were tons of fires there but we went to my best friend's uncle's house for a few hours. Then we got to a safer place in Petaluma where there wasn’t much smoke and no fires. After staying there for about 2 1/2 hours we went to my aunt's house in Santa Rosa to sleep because we are very tired.
My family and I felt very sad for our county and town . We were very concerned for our friends and family. We called all of our family to make sure they were okay and safe. As soon as we saw the news and pictures of all the local areas we wanted to help.
Me. my mom. my aunt and my cousins were all sitting on the couch watching the news while talking about the fires. My cousins and I wanted to do something for the people who lost there homes. Right away we made Instagram and Facebook accounts . We started following and adding people to the accounts. We started asking friends and family to donate clothes and toiletry items. Forestville charter and elementary school were very generous to collect clothes and let anyone come by and grab whatever they need. So we had some friends pick up some clothes and to bring to give to families.
Right now Santa Rosa is burnt and smoky and very sad. All of Coffey Park is gone, K-mart , some of Sutter Health, McDonald’s, Fountain Grove, Bennett Valley, Napa , Windsor and lots of other places burnt and gone. It’s very tragic.
Meet Bronte Rodriguez age:16
I was at my aunt's house with my mom, sister, and cousins. I was sleeping at the time. Then my aunt woke me in the middle the night and informed me that there was a fire. At first I thought this was a joke and then I smelt smoke at this juncture while still in my room and we all began getting very panicky. I went inside and saw the fire in the distance. It didn’t feel real to me I thought it was all a dream.
Yes my whole family had to evacuate. I went with my sister and my mom. We didn’t know where to go at first. My mom decide to go to the gas station for us when we got there it was too crowded and traffic was everywhere. Then we decided to go to my aunt's house but when we were driving traffic got worse so we turned around. Come 5:45 in the morning we parked at Lucky's and slept there until 8 o’clock in the morning in our cars.
My family was very worried because all of our other family members that were scattered about. I was really worried about our town I thought it was going to burn down and then we wouldn’t have a home. We all feel very horrible about the families that lost their homes and their loved ones.
My mom, sister, cousins, and aunts were talking about what we can do to help the other families because we felt so bad. My family and I decided to make an Instagram account to ask people to donate clothes and other items. Then we created a Facebook account for the same reasons.
All accounts that we hear personally from and first hand experiences paint a nightmarish picture about it. They have described it as a total wasteland.
Currently we have 13 families that have donated clothes and other personal items. There are lots of more friends and family sending things from la and San Francisco! We are very thankful for all of these families donating there nice clothes and other items.
We know lots of friends and families who have lost their homes. People we go to school with , teachers, even familiar faces we see at the grocery store. I feel that everyone has been affected by this even if they didn’t lose their homes, it was a very scary thing to see and go through , especially because things like this don’t happen in Santa Rosa.
There are multiple evacuation centers that are taking clothes, there are also many stores taking donations. Some of our family have picked a Random family and got in their sizes and what they need, and then they got clothes and specific requested items for the family. We have learned from people we have talked to that went through fires last year that people want nice clothes not just clothes that have been sitting in your garage or your closet for months or even years. You have to think of what you would want and I’m sure you wouldn’t want trashed clothes you would want nicer clothes.
We have two accounts, Facebook and Instagram. Our Facebook is give2familiesinfires. Our Instagram is give2familiesinfires. We are using those accounts to give people the opportunity to direct message us and ask what they can do, what they can donate, and who they can help. In our Instagram bio and our first post there is an explanation of why we are doing this and how people can help. Our Facebook also includes that and pictures of what we’ve been doing and who is been helping. There is also an email that you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone is still very shocked and sad. Stores are empty schools are closed, people have lost their jobs. It’s all very sad but everyone is really working on helping. Santa Rosa schools are closed 10/17 - 10/20. This upcoming week the 16th will be the second week close has been closed.
It was a very scary thing to go through
Cierra Gillis -Jones
We have been collecting clothes and other personal items, after we get as many clothes as we can we are going to pick and find as many families as we can to help and give the clothes. So far we have helped Divina who is a kindergartner that goes to Cesar Chavez school. We have also made a duffel bag for a 13-year-old girl and we got her leggings, shirts, sweaters, and more.
We have family friends who have lost their homes, we have schoolmates, teachers, and many people from our town and county who lost there homes.
People can donate clothes, household items, toiletries, food, water and any personal items.
People can go to our Instagram and Facebook account. Which is give2familiesinfires. In the bio for Instagram explains why we're doing this and how you can help. Our Facebook has lots of pictures of people who have helped and all the clothes we have collected as well as our Instagram.
As of right now our town looks bad, schools have not opened yet people lost jobs and even some schools have been burned down. The good thing about schools being closed is there’s evacuation centers at most of the schools.
Thank yo so much to you all for your efforts and helping your community. A big thank you to all involved in this to: