NAPA COUNTY (CBS13) — Approximately 80,000 people in Napa and Sonoma counties were forced from their homes because of the Glass Fire.
Flames roared across the hills around St. Helena forming fire tornadoes as neighbors rushed to get out before it was too late.
“We got all our animals out and evacuated, so we’re good,” said Ken Watson.
Thousands were forced to leave as the Glass Fire exploded. Paul Bertoli lives off of Silverado Road.
“I thought we’d be OK until morning, and then the whole hill was on fire,” said Bertoli.
Firefighters saved his home, but Sean Maher wasn’t so lucky.
“The only thing standing is the tennis court,” said Maher.
He returned to find nothing but mangled metal and ashes, a heartbreaking sight for his 16-year-old daughter.
“It’s been my childhood home. So it’s hard to see it gone,” said Loren Maher as she wiped tears from her eyes.
Before Maher escaped, he’d stopped to help with firefighting efforts before the hillside turned into an inferno.
“I don’t know what’s on the backside, but I don’t think it’s good,” said Maher.
In the chaos, their German Shepherd Kona took off running into the woods. At sun-up, the family frantically called for her, as people tried to get back to their homes to assess the damage.
“It’s really bad, surreal. This is the second time we’re leaving in less than a month,” said one man as he pulled up in his car with his wife and children.
His home was spared, but all around it looked like hell on earth.
While fires raged all around her, search efforts for Kona continued until a crew spotted her.
“Kona!” Loren shouted with joy as she ran toward the dog.
A girl and her dog, lost then found. A glimmer of hope in what has become the new normal.
“It’s just another beautiful day in Napa valley, just unbelievable!” said Paul Bertoli.