Napa chefs serve over 31,000 meals to North Bay fire victims

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- The Tubbs Fire is 91 percent contained Wednesday night and evacuation orders were lifted for several Napa neighborhoods. Many residents saw their homes for the very first time when the wildfires broke out.

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"The devastation just coming down the hill for the first time -- from the house was just terrible. Terrible," said Napa resident Kristi McGraw.

That is the sentiment shared by so many in Napa who are returning to their homes for the very first time since a mandatory evacuation nine days ago.

"We just got back here and got our gas back on," said Carter Nelson, who adds that being home is bittersweet. He's relieved his home is still standing.

"We looked outside and said, 'Oh it's coming.' About 10:04 p.m. we got some pictures -- at the top of the hill, and by 10:30 p.m. it was almost here and getting here fast," Nelson added.

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As residents started heading home, the work continues for countless chefs and volunteers with the Napa Valley BBQ Foundation. So far, they've served 31,000 meals to anyone who asked.

"We initially came out to feed 400 - 800 people," said chef Vince Sanchez. "It's shocking -- for nine or 10 days straight."

"For me it was a distraction," said Patrick Robertson, who is a chef at Aimee D'Maris Events. "There's a lot of fear about what the future would hold for me and I wanted to get to work and do what I do."

For every meal served, every return home, there is so much work left to be done. But there's a sense of unity in Napa that keeps everyone forging ahead.

"It has restored my faith in people," Robertson told ABC7 News. "It was unbelievable."

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