SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — The Fountaingrove neighborhood in Santa Rosa was devastated by the Tubbs Fire as it raged through town, demolishing whole blocks on a path of fiery destruction.
One community was spared the devastation thanks to the quick thinking of a few of the residents.
The type of devastation many areas of Fountaingrove experienced two weeks ago left entire blocks of homes reduced to ashes.
But as the fire jumped Fountaingrove Parkway and started closing in on the homes on the hill, residents decided to take matters into their own hands.
“It’s starting to burn into those trees right there on the left side of the road,” Bill Hobro of the Lomita Heights neighborhood told KPIX 5.
That was the sight Hobro and his neighbors woke up to early that fateful Monday morning
“No water is going to save us,” said Hobro.
A massive wall of flames consuming homes on Bella Vista and heading straight for their neighborhood.
“It was getting crazy. It was getting really crazy,” remembered Hobro.
Hobro says a Santa Rosa fire truck came through the neighborhood, but the firefighters said they couldn’t help. they were only there to tell everyone to get out.
That was when Hobro saw a contractor’s water truck driving by and flagged down the driver.
“I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got some houses over in this area that can still be saved. Can you guys come down here?’ And they did,” said Hobro.
Hobro and the two men in the water truck spent 6 hours dumping water on the hillside and ravine.
“We just sprayed everything we could that was on fire in the area,” said Hobro.
They only stopped for 15 minutes at a time to go to a nearby fire hydrant and refill the truck’s water tank.
“It was scary but I thought, as long as the flames are behind us and we can keep them behind us, then we have a chance,” said Hobro.
With one water truck, blind determination and the sheer luck of the winds shifting in the right direction, the fires passed and Lomita Heights was still standing.
“There’s so much talk about the heroism of our paid first responders, and there’s no doubt they are heroes,” said Lomita Heights resident Jim Bordner. “But when your neighbors take on that same kind of danger into their own hands, it’s a step beyond. It’s even more heroic.”
But Hobro doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“I don’t feel like a hero. I’m just glad our whole neighborhood, our whole subdivision was able to survive this,” said Hobro.
Everyone KPIX 5 spoke with Sunday said they feel vert lucky to have amazing neighbors like Hobro. They know without them, their homes could have easily been turned to rubble.