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Incredible show of support for North Bay fire victims restores faith after tragedy

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The show of support for fire victims in Santa Rosa is so strong, it spilled from the doors of St. Rose Catholic Church. Thousands of items were donated, and many people came out to help those in need. (KGO-TV)

The show of support for fire victims in Santa Rosa is so strong, it spills from the doors of St. Rose Catholic Church.

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"To have so many people here, it's incredible" smiles longtime churchgoer Gloria Retamoza.

Don Roman, another churchgoer told ABC7 News he's never seen the church this full.

Thursday night's prayer vigil is for St. Rose Catholic School and nearby Cardinal Newman High Schools, which were destroyed in the fires.

Jacob Carinalli stood with his friends outside and says he's determined to attend Cardinal Newman next year, no matter what the school looks like. "Portables even...I'm just hoping they rebuild."

Less than a mile down the road, a lesser-known school. A non-profit center for students with autism.
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Hollie Chavez has a 16-year-old son with autism. "The kids really need it," she said. "There are 120 students from 5 to 22 years old and it's their future."

It too burned to the ground. So much damage, PG&E crews lined the street and access was blocked off.

"We're really scared because we don't know where the children are going to go," said Chavez.

Across town, the Elsie Allen High School campus was transformed into the largest yard sale the city has ever seen. Except everything here is FREE.

"We've been sorting through clothes and children's toys, so when you come up, pick up what you need" smiled Daniel Scott, a volunteer who sits inside one of many 16 wheeler trucks full of supplies.

Doug Jung lost almost everything in the fires. "You could feel the flaming embers...then the explosion," he said. "That was really nerve-wracking."

Jung lost everything, but the clothes on his back. This afternoon, he was searching for a suitable black suit to wear to a funeral. His spirit, and the spirit of others here is not broken. "We are very fortunate people. I know people who are really down on America and we complain about it, but we are lucky. We are so, lucky," he added.

Click here to help the Anova school for students with autism by donating at their GoFundMe page.

Click here for complete coverage of the North Bay wildfires.

Related Topics:
firefighterscal firefirefire departmentsfire deathdeadly fireNorth Bay FiresevacuationstudentsautismschooldonationsNapaSonomaSanta Rosa
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