Santa Rosa residents search for memories in rubble of North Bay fires

Friday, October 20, 2017
EMBED <>More Videos


SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- "Lift me up."

RELATED: Roads remain closed as Santa Rosa residents air grievances about fire recovery

We've spent all of today in Coffey Park in Santa Rosa. As residents finally returned to their homes (on Day 12), it's fire-stirred rubble into chaos.

Some people here wanted to be left alone. Others wanted to talk.

Among them, Donna and John Pittman. That's John giving her a helping hand out of what had been home since 1994.

VIDEO: See the ruins of Coffey Park in Santa Rosa

He's a Vietnam veteran who though he had seen and lived through bad enough, until this. A guy who thought he can fix anything. His tools survived -- sort of.

Donna is a teacher.

Together, they welcomed us into the remains of their home, just one one of many in this neighborhood filled with so much loss.

In the rubble, John found a watch and his wedding ring. He put the ring on immediately.

PHOTOS: Coffey Park residents return after devastating fire

Donna found a ceramic from her grandmother, Alma.

They rejoiced.

Not far away, on the other side of what used to be a fence, Barbara Nichols did much the same, still talking about what used to be a beautiful garden filled with crafted plants.

She, too, looked for anything significant. "A mattress, you recognize, but insurance will replace that." She grieved family pictures, gifts, mementoes, and talked about watching disaster after disaster strike the nation, this summer. "Then I wake up, and it happens to us."

No one can appreciate what these residents are going through unless they have done so, themselves.'

Click here for complete coverage of the North Bay fires.

Keep scrolling for more social media reporting from Wayne Freedman.

Click here for more from Wayne Freedman on Twitter.

Click here for more from Wayne Freedman on Facebook.