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‘The neighborhood is gone,’ Santa Rosa resident says after wildfire destroyed his home

Posted on 12 October 2017 by KWBG

Cody Nordstrom/Instagram (SANTA ROSA, Calif.) — Entire neighborhoods were scorched beyond recognition in the Santa Rosa, California, area, after fast-moving wildfires tore through, killing at least 11 people in Sonoma County.

Resident Joshua Corbett posted these photos on Instagram, writing, “This used to be a where I lived. The neighborhood is gone.”

“I tried digging through the debris hoping something of mine was still there. Nothing,” Corbett wrote. “I thankfully have most my clothes, and whatever valuables I could throw into my car in the 20-minute period between waking up and being forced to leave despite wanting to grab more of my things. It wasn’t the fire that made me decide to stop packing. The smoke was too much, I couldn’t handle it. Being out there was surreal, everything is burnt and destroyed.”

“Please continue to send prayers our way,” he wrote. “We need it.”

At least 15 people have died as a result of wildfires across the state, authorities said Tuesday.

In the Santa Rosa area, 27,000 acres have burned. All Sonoma County public schools are closed today and officials say 24 evacuation centers are open to the public.

Thousands of residents were displaced by the fires, according to Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey.

“I’m lucky. My house is fine, my family is fine, but my city is not,” Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey said at a press conference Monday. “It’s going to take a long time for us to recover from what happened today.”

Patients at the Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Santa Rosa Regional hospitals in Santa Rosa were forced to evacuate early Monday as flames tore through surrounding neighborhoods.

 St. Joseph Health said about 170 patients have been treated, many for burns and smoke inhalation, at three of its hospitals, including two in Sonoma County, while encompasses Santa Rosa. At least 90 of those patients were taken to a facility in Santa Rosa, including 12 patients who suffered from burn injuries.

Santa Rosa homeowner John Graves said he was mourning said most of his neighborhood was leveled.

“I’ve been here 25 years. It was a great neighborhood,” Graves told ABC’s San Francisco station KGO-TV on Monday. “It’s gonna be a lot of work getting it back.”

Kim Hoe, a 33-year-old tech worker visiting from Penang, Malaysia, said he was staying at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa, which was destroyed by flames.

He said he and his colleagues began to pack up Monday morning when someone knocked on the hotel door and told them to run.

“We just had to run and run. It was full of smoke. We could barely breathe,” Hoe told KGO-TV.

At least 17 people have died and more than 170 were injured as a result of wildfires across the state, authorities said.

Officials with the California Highway Patrol described one of the dead as an elderly woman who was blind and hard of hearing, according to KGO-TV.

The woman was found dead in the driveway of her home in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, according to the officials, who suspected that she may have been trying to escape the flames when she she died.

The fires, intensified by strong winds, charred about 90,000 acres of land and destroyed at least 1,500 homes and structures statewide.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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