SANTA ROSA, CA (October 9, 2017) – More than 100 people are sheltered at Redwood Covenant Church this morning after fleeing a raging fire that already has destroyed numerous homes and businesses.
“We have a lot of shaken people here,” said Scott Peterson, Redwood’s children’s pastor. “People are walking around looking kind of dazed.”
A number of church members are among the people who have already lost their homes, and others had houses directly in the fire’s path.
The fire started on Sunday night at the north end of the city as a series of small fires that came together to form one raging conflagration that quickly destroyed 20,000 acres this morning and sent residents running for their lives, officials said.
Pastor Dan Ferguson opened the doors to the church before 2 a.m., Peterson said. The church served breakfast this morning to those who are sheltered there.
Many neighbors learned of the fire from other neighbors, said Peterson, who was awakened by neighbor and colleague Corey Johnsrud. Peterson and Johnsrud were able to wake up an elderly neighbor after banging on doors and windows for several minutes.
Peterson’s wife, Sheri, dislocated her thumb when she fell while trying to warn the neighbor, who eventually was evacuated.
Peterson tried to drive her to a local hospital, but it and the other hospital in the city had been evacuated due to the fire threat.
“We had to go far out to get medical attention,” said Peterson, who added that the driving was difficult due to heavy traffic.