SAN DIEGO – A family forced out of their homes by the Northern California wildfires were able to find refuge in San Diego, but their ties to the fires back home stretch over several wine country neighborhoods.
Jon Curry is used to seeing homes being built -- not burning down. He is a general contractor who spent the last 16 years building homes along the Sonoma Mountains. At least five of those homes were destroyed in the fires.
“We look out, a ball of fire here, across the canyon, another ball of fire. Within two hours we had five fires, just surrounding us in this fishbowl," Curry said. “To wake up and get a photo and see a before and after on a project that we finished maybe four months ago and it’s just vaporized – it’s unbelievable.”
Continuing Coverage: California Wildfires
His mother-in-law, Meta, also lives in Sonoma and says one look outside her window and she knew it was time to go.
“The air was so thick with smoke you couldn’t see 50, 100 yards in front of you," Meta said. "We packed the dogs and you just think you're grabbing everything but we just packed what we could quickly and got out of town.”
While Meta says she’s thankful to have a place to come home to in San Diego, her heart is very much still in Sonoma.
“It made me cry … You leave and you try to divert your attention. There’s a lot of guilt -- should I stay there and do something -- but then I think about getting out of the way and letting the professionals do what they do best."
Though the thoughts of rebuilding their hometown of Sonoma come to mind, they both know it’s going to be a long road ahead.
“It’s a mess," Curry said. "These are families that have lived there their whole lives."