Family heartbroken after 91-year-old Calistoga home destroyed in Glass Fire

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Family heartbroken after 91-year-old home destroyed in Glass Fire
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The destructive Glass Fire in the North Bay burned a 91-year-old home in Calistoga, leaving the family heartbroken.

CALISTOGA, Calif. (KGO) -- The destructive Glass Fire in the North Bay burned a 91-year-old family home in Calistoga, leaving the family members heartbroken.

On our way to visit a list of Napa Valley wineries, we found Norma Tofanelli on the side of Dunaweal Lane in Calistoga, looking in shock at what's left of her grandparents' burned down home.

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"Oh my gosh - you know, but we're just one of many, and we didn't lose anybody..."

Tofanelli's grandfather, Sebastian DiGiulio, built the home from a barn in 1929. He married Irene, who's picture is now on the Tofanelli Family Vineyard website. Their daughter, Pauline, married Vernon Tofanelli and had Norma and her brother Vince. Vince now owns the winery. He makes and stores the wine off the property so the product has been untouched.

Norma showed us around the property and recalled happy memories and sad ones.

"As kids, my brother and I were in the vineyard. I mean, and it was wonderful. We had the most incredible childhood anybody could have," Tofanelli said.

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MAP: These wineries, landmarks are confirmed damaged in the Glass Fire

She said she feels numb seeing everything destroyed.

"The reality of what we've lost won't hit me until - things I've forgotten were there as I'm looking across... I'm going oh, my God. That's gone," Tofanelli said.

While we were there, two Sonoma County firefighters pulled over to put out hot spots. One of them said usually people think the threat is the head of the fire, but sometimes it can reignite on a burned out property three or four days afterwards.

"How do you say thank you to people you're never going to see again? You don't know who they are? To me, it's incredible that they're able to go around to small individual locations and like this - looking for hot spots when they got the valley on fire both sides," Tofanelli said.

Tofanelli said this property was the heart of her family, and knows other Napa Valley families are going through the same despair.

"Even though the valley has been bought up by big corporations and they're disconnected and it's just another property on their portfolio, there are still people whose roots are here and their roots have been cut and I don't know how deeply they've been cut, it's too soon to know," Tofanelli said.

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