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Help Clementine & Family after Fire

$16,490 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 173 people in 4 months
Created October 10, 2017
Our dear friends Brian Mitchell, Clementine Mitchell-Lee and their family lost their home in the Santa Rosa fire on Monday. They literally escaped as their house was engulfed in flames, but thankfully all got out with minimal injuries.

Because they had only moments to flee for safety, they have lost all of their belongings. They'll need to start completely over from scratch. 

Anything you can contribute would be greatly appreciated - even if it's just a prayer or a share.

Thank you all!
Brendon Kelly
Petaluma CA

*All funds go directly to the Mitchell-Lee family
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PART FOUR:

"A day later my neighbors were allowed back up to retrieve their horses, who managed to survive. While they were up there, they took photos and videos, photo here is taken by them. I have yet to witness firsthand the total devastation to my home, but the photos were like a punch in the gut and especially hard was the photo that shows my duck’s house gone, more lives lost, my babies. My ducks are not the only lives lost on that hill that night, every one who drove down my lane to their home, is gone, there was no notices given, no way of knowing we were going to be chased from our home by fire. No horns honking, no PA warning, no knock on the door, no NOTHING! I get an alert about 112 degree weather caution but not if there is a fire headed my way? How was there personnel out front my house with no sirens? WHY WERE WE NOT WARNED!?

This is the reasons I am alive; Stephanie, Brian’s car working, my gig in SF that night

This is the reasons I or my family could have died that night; The sheriff not allowing me to get to my family, if I had not worked so late, the fact we had no warning what so ever.

I have wanting to process this for days, and after my first true nightmare last night, where I woke up sweaty and having a hard time breathing, I knew I needed to explain to everyone and myself what happened. I am already blanking things out and forgetting and going back to add things in the event time line, I am blocking things out, thinking there is no way that REALLY happened, that can’t be right, that would never happen to me. Well, it did, I almost died, I didn’t sleep for days, afraid of not being warned properly if something were to happen again. My body hurts, my arm hairs singed, and small spot of ember burns remain on my chest to remind me it did happen. Those will fade, and I will live and move on. This is not a quick fix, this is a lifetime of recovery and I do will never lay eyes on the sentimental items I held on to so dearly in my home, because they made me feel whole and like I had such respect for the past.
When people ask what I need, I can’t think of what to say because all I want to say is “My home, and my ducks, my bed and my blankets, my table, my chairs, my plants, my life.”

The emotions are wild, I am unable to focus and see straight, I go through phases where I want to own nothing or care about anything, because of fear of loosing it all over again.

Money does not make this better, but it can help me recover and get a home and car, and back to some sort of normal I have taken for granted my whole life."
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PART THREE:

"Power was lost, it went pitch black and quiet, until we heard the fire coming, I looked out my back porch to see flames on the hill above us, about a half a mile or so up. Watching people house lights turn on and then their house being covered in flames. I told my husband it was time. Get the baby up, it was time to go. Panicking and racing to get leashes on the dogs, while my husband was grabbing my son, my teenaged daughter came into the house screaming the neighbor’s house is on fire, we need to leave NOW! 5 minutes it had traveled down hill half a mile or more, crossing the springs and hoping onto the tops of the houses next to us.

As we stepped out onto our back porch a tornado of flaming tree, ash, smoke and embers hit our faces, taking our breath away. Loaded the dogs into my car, and jumping in to leave, my car wouldn’t start, it wouldn’t start again, all lights lit up and it wasn’t starting. DITCH THE CAR WITH EVERYTHING IN IT!!! There is fire flying at us, we can’t fuck with this now, we have got to get out. My dog would not budge and we had to rip him out and injure his leg to get him in the other car to go. Once Wentir realized we were leaving the other car and all our things, she screamed and was refusing to leave. I screamed so hard my own ears rang, “GET IN THE FUCKING CAR WENTIR, GET IN THE FUCKING CAR, WE HAVE GOT TO GO!!!” She realized her life was in danger and we were driving out of there within seconds.

We pull out and watch the flames light everything behind us up. We see a Sheriff’s car and fire truck right out front our house on the street, sitting there. My husband was weaving in and out of branches falling, branches the size of large trees, and embers and wind and smoke, then we reach the same spot the sheriff had been with the road block and there was a car and truck both on fire, ditched in the middle of the road. I call Stephanie to tell her we had to leave, and that it was all on fire, my daughter balling in the back, dogs piled on top of each other and my toddler saying, “That car has no fire mommy?”

My second call was to my mother in law because we were fleeing to her house, she was in shock and immediately fell apart and said yes please come over. I said sorry for waking her and she said “Don’t be sorry”.
Then silence, no one said anything, all that was heard was my dog panting in the back seat and whimpers from his anxiety. "
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PART TWO:

"I got this sweet gig in San Francisco for Sunday night October 8th, I was super excited and brought my friend and coworker to assist. We were tired and beat up and headed home late on a Sunday for anyone. About an hour into our drive I remember I didn’t text my husband to remind him to lock up the ducks, so I have Stephanie do it, and responds with a smiley emoji and “There is a fire somewhere” . I was like wait what? He explained sirens, but they had stopped. Stephanie jokingly said “Watch we see the hill covered in a fire” The joke was due to the lack of emotional response Brian (my husband) has to anything. Well my heart sank as we reached the top of Cotati grade and the full hill was glowing red with fire.

I drove speeds of at least 80 MPH and reached the bottom of my street in 10 minutes, where I was blocked by a sheriff, telling me I couldn’t go the hill was blocked. I explained that my teenaged daughter was watching my toddler and I needed to get to them to get them out. Explained my address and that I lived ½ a mile up the road and I needed to get them. He said “okay” and I went to drive past him and he flipped out and said “I fucking said NO, what don’t you understand?!” I pulled into the side street and cried, I called my husband and explained that it was serious and he didn’t seem to grasp the level of severity. I told him to put my teenager, Wentir-Dawn, on the phone. I was a mess, crying my eyes out, I explained to her to get a paper, and write everything I said down. I listed off where to get the money boxes for my work at, I explained to get computer, and camera, she said she would gather family photos off the walls, I said make sure to put as much water in the ducks house as possible, and I was balling, shaking and about to throw up. After that call, I called who else? BUT MY MOM, she is the biggest fighter for justice I know and I thought she would have the right words to say to make the sheriff let me pass, while on the phone with her, A man came up and spoke with Stephanie to ask what was wrong with me, and she explained, he told us a way around and to just hurry, as the other street was not blocked yet. I took off! Stephanie yelling “GO GO GO GO GO !!!”

Reaching my house, I felt more calm, because you could not see the fire like I had the whole way home, you couldn’t even smell the smoke as bad, but if they were blocking the road and streams of cars were heading down the hill and none up, I figured it was bad, we loaded the cars up, my SUV with all the important stuff, photos, birth certs and passports, and clothes. Stephanie loaded some of my business belongings into her car, and was so levelheaded and calm and kept me on track. As we were loading, she said “Should I wake the neighbors?” “yes, that’s a good idea” with being so stressed for time, Wentir and Stephanie knocked on doors and woke the neighbors closest to us. They had no idea and our street was dead silent, no sirens, no PA system, no honking of horns, no body telling anyone to get out. One of my neighbors ex-husband and father of her 2 kids, was called, he said they were not worried about the fire and they were not evacuating us at all. We all took a deep breath, but I was happy I packed the cars, and the neighbors began to do the same. We all walked to our houses to sit down and wait. Stephanie headed home, and said I needed to go there as soon as we left."
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I'm posting Clementine's story in sections due to update limitations:

PART ONE:

"Sitting here in a comfortable apartment in San Francisco, the nicest I have ever seen in the city, and wishing I was home.

Home, a hundred year old farm house located right up against Mark West Springs, beautiful oak trees where the sunrise shone through and the animals were lively. Home, the old hard wood floors with my collected antique furniture stood and created a peace for my family. Home where my ducks quacked and greeted me at the gate when I walked in saying “Hello ladies”. Home where I proudly relaxed while finding the best window for my plants to thrive. Home where my family could rest their heads and everything would melt away.
My 2 year old son asks to go home, says he wants to sleep there, talks about his ducks and how they ran from the fire and were saved in their house, which I can’t bring myself to tell him otherwise. How do you even explain this to a child who can’t truly grasp the magnitude of a situation where we lost home?
We are so lucky, we are so blessed, we are without a doubt doing so much better than so many others. We have friends and family and support and love coming at us from every stranger and person we know. I cry at every act, I struggle to grasp the “why they are helping us”. I don’t know how to say thank you, I just cry with every kind act. I feel confused, didn’t we just have it all? Weren’t we just on top of the world, successfully working towards life together and happily creating memories on our farm? Why can’t I get it? Why can’t I remember that everything is gone, and we are not on some vacation?

Here is the story of the night we lost everything, the moment we had ourselves, dogs, and the car we escaped in. I need to put this all down to process, and heal and begin to understand how I am feeling. I hear my daughter crying quietly in the other room, I hear the pain and am reminded of that night and how every song that says “fire” can take me back just as my daughter’s tears do now.
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$16,490 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 173 people in 4 months
Created October 10, 2017
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