Glass Fire devastation will be 'new beginning' for famed Meadowood Resort, manager says

ByKristen Sze and Eric Shackelford KGO logo
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Meadowood director talks about loss of famed Napa Valley resort
We're learning more about the damage done to the Meadowood estate caused by the Glass Fire that burned through St. Helena on Monday.

ST. HELENA, Calif. (KGO) -- It's hard to imagine feeling optimistic after walking through your property and seeing the devastation from a wildfire, but that's the message and mindset from those at the famed Meadowood Napa Valley resort in St. Helena.

RELATED: Michelin-starred restaurant at Meadowood destroyed by Glass Fire

Managing director of the Meadowood Estate David Pearson just finished touring the property before talking about the damage he saw. Emotions were clearly hard to hide - even positive ones.

"I was pleased with the number of buildings that survived, and the number of trees and hillsides," Pearson said. The pool area, spa area, fitness building, a number of tennis courts and lodging are okay. Pearson talked about the good, while also reflecting on the sadness. The main building that housed the three Michelin-starred restaurant was reduced to rubble.

"As fires can be, they're very random with where they burn and how they burn," Pearson said. "Some hillsides were completely devastated and looked like the surface of Mars. When a building burns to the ground, the devastation is heartbreaking."

Heartbreaking is a cliched term that Pearson embraces. "The phrase heartbreaking is overused, but this is simply a heartbreaking moment."

VIDEO: Enormous plumes of smoke, orange haze from Glass Fire in North Bay

Enormous plumes of smoke and widespread orange haze are a product of the Glass Incident burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. The thick, hard-to-breath air is seeping into other Bay Area regions.

Pearson said they've received an overwhelming number of messages and support with people sharing their memories at the estate. "So many of us are feeling the loss and impact of this fire," Pearson said.

Memories include the weddings of Robin Williams and baseball hall-of-famer Derek Jeter.

It's too soon to tell when they will be able to rebuild and reopen, but Pearson left us with a message of hope from the estate's founder Bill Harlan. The two spoke on the phone and Harlan told Pearson, "We have to find something positive out of all of this. This gives us the opportunity to rebuild this better than before."

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