SANTA ROSA — At 3688 Mocha Lane in Santa Rosa lies the bare bones of a home burned by wildfire.
“You don’t even see a resemblance of what it used to be,” said wildfire survivor Natasha Wallace.
This is just one of many addresses in the Coffey Park neighborhood where a deadly, wind-driven, firestorm chased people out of bed in the middle of the night Monday.
“Everything was gray, everything was destroyed and it went for miles,” Wallace recounts.
Wallace, a Santa Rosa Junior College soccer player, was studying across town until nearly 2 a.m. Monday.
On her way home, she saw the fire from the freeway meaning she had the perspective to know everyone needed to evacuate immediately.
“I would never part ways with my dog. ever,” Wallace said. “That’s my ride or die. Oh my God, literally.”
So she shoved Bentley, her 4-year-old pit bull, into her Honda and drove down the road — within minutes, she was stuck between other cars.
“It was coming faster than I could leave in traffic, so I went back and got my bike,” Wallace remembers.
She also grabbed a duffel bag which she used as a makeshift sidecar for her 70-pound best friend.
“So I grabbed my dog and I told him, ‘Hey man, this is serious, you need to just sit in the bag.’ And he, he hopped right in,” Wallace said.
She says after she made it down the road a few miles ahead of the fire, a man in a truck pulled over and took her and Bentley the rest of the way out.
“I just want to say thank you to him. Paul Johnson,” Wallace said.
Thursday night, Wallace was reflecting on how lucky she was, not only to have survived the fire, but to have people around to help.