With well over 1,500 homes likely to be victims of these wildfires' paths of destruction in the North Bay, and thousands more still under threat as winds are predicted to kick up again late Tuesday, many of those impacted by Monday's fire swarm are still learning the extent of the property damage, or have not yet been allowed back into their neighborhoods. But the impacts are going to be widespread for whole swaths of Santa Rosa and neighboring Glen Ellen, and today we're hearing of a few people who were working as first responders during the blazes who lost their own homes while they helped others.
ABC 7 has the story of Mill Valley Police Chief Tom Welch, a resident of Santa Rosa with his wife and two kids, who lost his family home in the Tubbs Fire Monday. He, himself, was helping fight the fires burning in Napa and Sonoma when his own family was forced to evacuate, and now a crowdfunding page has been set up to help them get back on their feet, via some Mill Valley residents and city employees. As of this morning it had raised only $16,000, but as of this writing it has raised almost $47,000 of a new $100,000 goal.
The Chronicle reports on surgeons Elizabeth and Joseph Tito, recent transplants to the Fountaingrove neighborhood of Santa Rosa from the East Coast, who believe their home was likely lost in the fire but they were busy helping out at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital all day Monday and had not been allowed back to their house to check. The married pair both work at an affiliated outpatient facility in Healdsburg, and they relocated their 11-year-old child and pets to Elizabeth Tito's office where they remained on Monday, waiting to learn more.
Santa Rosa Memorial opened a command center to treat fire victims starting at 1 a.m. Monday, and while they treated at least two burn victims with severe injuries, one of them in critical conditions, and 15 with moderate injuries, as well as 43 more with minor injuries. This was all while two other area hospitals, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and Kaiser's Santa Rosa Medical Center, both had to close and evacuate patients in a rush Monday morning. All their patients had to be relocated to other hospitals, as the LA Times reports.
A spokesperson for Santa Rosa Memorial tells the Chronicle that after the initial rush of patients, some of whom were suffering from smoke inhalation, there was another wave of patients with injuries related to the rushed evacuation, including those who suffered falls, and got into vehicle collisions on crowded roads.
Multiple other doctors at the hospital lost their homes, according to the Chron, including Chief Medical Officer Chad Krilich, who escaped with only some photos, five pairs of underwear, and the family turtle before heading to work at 2 a.m. Monday.
Manpower at all of these hospitals, including those that were closed, is likely to go down, Krilich says, as evacuees are allowed back to pick up the pieces at their fire-ravaged properties.