This morning my pregnant sister-in-law woke to use the restroom around 2:00 am. She smelled smoke so decided to wake my younger brother. He peeked his head out the window to essentially find a firestorm. The sky was filled with smoke, and the winds were unusually strong. They could hear sirens and knew they had to get my 7-year-old niece and their roommate out of the home. The Santa Rosa street they live on was already gridlocked. The Tubbs fire had already burned its way over the 101 highway into this western part of the city. My brother managed to grab his wallet, but they left everything else behind. They fortunately were able to alert their sleeping neighbors, and escaped 30 mins before their home completely burned down.
They were renting, but had already had their baby shower for my nephew who is expected to be born late November. They had just set up the crib last night. My niece is young, but understands that all of her "lovies" are gone and so is their home.
My little brother has overcome unimaginable challenges. He works two jobs to support the family he loves, including making the 80 mile trip to Uber and Lyft in San Francisco on his free time.
My sister-in-law is also one of the most amazing people you'll ever meet. She is absolutely passionate about her craft and students. She teaches dance to children, and is especially fond of her group of students with special needs.
I am almost 600 miles away from them in San Diego. I grew up mostly in Cloverdale, but several of my family members still live in Sonoma and Lake County. My oldest brother's home and family survived the Valley Fire in Lake County two years ago. He works for Comcast Xfinity and has been working all day to get Santa Rosa back online. My other sister-in-law spent the day watering down the house mostly out of anxiety. Most of the homes on their street burned down. Theirs was one of the few to survive. Setting up this account is the least I can do. I'm not sure what is an appropriate amount to ask for, but every bit is greatly appreciated.
Their immediate expenses will be for finding a place to live and buy new clothes. They are currently with a friend. My oldest niece is gathering used baby items for them, but they will likely need more.
My sister-in-law's car is the one in the picture. My brother lost equipment he had spent a lot of time acquiring to help him achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot. He also lost a customized PC that he put a lot of resources into building. My niece has things at her mother's home, but rebuilding her bedroom in their future home will be a process.
If you would prefer or also like to donate to a broader fund, I found this site: California Fire Relief Fund
Please feel free to share. I have already had several friends ask how they can help and just even the thought is greatly appreciated. My heart goes out to my homeland. My heart is still with you Nor Cal. <3
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