ST. HELENA (KPIX 5) — In Napa County, the Glass Fire struck multiple generations of the Maher family, leaving three homes owned by family members reduced to rubble in its fiery path of destruction.
But despite the tragic toll the fire has taken on the Maher family, the resilient family is still finding reasons to be hopeful.
A long-time residents of the Napa Valley, on Sunday night, 87-year-old Dick Maher lost the St. Helena home where he raised his five children.
“Unfortunately, you can hear about it and read about, but when you see where you spent 45 years of your life, it’s…I’m crying. I’m sorry,” the eldest Maher told KPIX 5.
But, the ruin didn’t stop there for the Mahers. Julie Maher showed a photo of a home glowing orange after being engulfed in flames on her cell phone.
“This is our son’s house, Sean. He lives right down the trail,” explained Julie Maher.
Sean Maher returned to his home to find nothing but mangled metal and ashes.
“The only thing standing is the tennis court,” he said.
It was a heartbreaking sight for his 16-year-old daughter.
“It’s been my childhood home, so it’s hard to see it gone,” she said.
Before he and his family escaped, Sean stopped to help with firefighting efforts before the hillside turned into an inferno
“I don’t know what’s on the back side, but I don’t think it’s good,” Sean said.
In the chaos, their German shepherd, Kona, took off running into the woods. The family was forced to flee without the dog.
In an almost too cruel twist, the devastation doesn’t end there: a second son also lost his home.
“My other brother Kelly and my sister in law Mary lost their house on Sunnyside,” said sister Shannon Maher.
After three evacuations in 18 months, the spirit of the family is being tested.
“We’re all okay. We’re resilient. We’re full of love and blessed with so much, but it just keeps hitting us. It’s like, come on! Alright already, please,” said Julie Maher.
But there were a couple of pieces of good news for the Mahers.
“I have my 87-year-old father’s [things and] one piece of fancy art at another location from the last fire a month ago,” said Shannon Maher. “I never brought it back to the house, so it’s safe. It’s like, ‘Dad, the jewelry, your art and all of your photos are safe because I was too lazy to bring them back.”
When returning to assess the damage to their home, Sean Maher and his family resumed search efforts for Kona, who was finally found safe. Another silver lining in an otherwise dismal day.