By Wilson Walker

SANTA ROSA (KPIX) – Whether they were technically allowed to or not, this was the day many people returned home on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa.

“Left the water running when we left on Sunday night, so if the fire was going to come down I thought it might stop it from coming in the house,” explained Pat Travis Wednesday.

Finally back home, the first thing Travis did was shut down his emergency fire defense.

“Yes, just want to turn off the water,” Travis said. “And get a couple things out of the freezer that will probably go in a couple of days.”

The areas where homes were lost are still closed off to everyone but emergency workers. That has a lot of people circling their neighborhoods, waiting for roadblocks to come down.

“We’re just grateful our home is still standing,” said Leslie Davis. “We’re kind of worried about what the condition of the house is and everything melting into the floors, but we have a home as far as we know right now.”

“We kind of got a little bit lucky here in this neighborhood,” says Milbauer. “It could’ve been a lot worse than it was.”

“I was watching a fire come over the top of that ridge,” says Tiger White. “It was all glowing so me and my wife, I got my wife out of here, we just got out.”

White says he snuck back into his still-closed neighborhood last night.

“But I told you this hill was going to burn,” he says.

And he really did say that in an interview with KPIX back on September 8th when the power was shut off here because of fire concerns.

“This is the last hill that hasn’t been burned over to Calistoga since the Tubbs fire,” he said at the time.

Not even three weeks later fire did come to this hill, but his home and most of this neighborhood was saved.

“So thank God for the firemen who protected our neighborhood in my house,“ White says.

“This hillside here was full of all these very professional people who did a great job saving our neighborhood,” Milbauer says. “So thanks again to everybody who was involved. We really can’t thank you enough.”

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