SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – A pregnant Santa Rosa woman evacuated her family via bicycle as flames took over her neighborhood.
When flames jumped Highway 101 and spread into the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa, Charity Ruiz knew it was time to get out.
But a traffic jam stopped her, her husband, two daughters and unborn baby in the middle of a street on fire.
“Honestly, I’ve never in my life felt like I was going to die like that moment,” Ruiz said. “Not just me, but my girls and unborn baby.”
So she went back to the house by herself and grabbed her bike equipped with a toddler trailer and rode out through the fire with the girls in the back.
“It was hard. I didn’t want to tip over,” Ruiz said. “I didn’t want to fall. I just kept yelling at the girls, tell me if you’re okay!”
Later, she and the girls met up with a Good Samaritan who drove them in his Jeep to a friend’s house where they reunited with her husband.
The family is now staying with family in San Jose.
On top of losing her house to the fire, Ruiz was scheduled to have a C-section to deliver her baby next week at Kaiser in Santa Rosa, but now those plans are up in the air too.
“Our hospital is shut down right now, so I don’t know if that will happen. I’m just waiting to hear back from somebody,” she said.
Kaiser Santa Clara has offered to step in and do the C-section if needed.
It’s been hard emotionally and financially on the young family.
“To know that the baby is going to come into this world and of course be loved. And it will be beautiful, but I won’t have a place to bring him home to,” Ruiz said.
They already know it’s going to be a boy and they haven’t picked out a name.
But they say it could be Phoenix, rising up from the ashes.
A fundraising page for the family can is here: https://www.gofundme.com/mikecharity.