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Vicki Carrino, whose home off Riebli Road burned in October, asked if I’ve heard enough about pets that ran off. Never.

After many weeks of searching and putting out food, Vicki was giving up hope of ever again seeing her microchipped but largely feral black-and-white ranch cat, Jilly.

“There were dead animals everywhere on our property,” she said.

A short while back, Vicki spotted a woman posting handbills about lost-and-found cats and mentioned her to that her Jilly hasn’t been seen since the firestorm. The woman, one of the undaunted volunteers who’ve for months put out shelters and food and wildlife cameras and cage traps, told Vicki that trapping would happen near the remains of her home that night.

Only hours later, Vicki was reunited with her cat. Jilly was extremely skinny but otherwise unhurt, and suddenly much more tame.

Vicki was all the more astounded when she heard what volunteers had named the cat before they had any idea where or to whom she belonged.

They called her Vickie.

IT WAS SHOCKING when a car crashed through the fence of a Windsor home, then the driver jumped out and ran.

But that was ho-hum compared to what happened next.

A neighbor, Jozlynn Hicks, who’s 22 years old and slight, took off running after the guy.

“I’m pretty strong-headed,” Jozlynn allowed.

She’d seen the stranger drive by her house in a Mercedes SUV and she heard the crash. With the sight of him hoofing it away, the adrenaline kicked in.

Jozlynn said that when she caught and grabbed onto the man, he exclaimed, “Are you really doing this?” She assured him that she really was.

She was on her own before a couple of men helped her hold the man for the police.

With the arrest, Jozlynn returned home to her baby, who’s named Rose Saralee Kunde because Jozlynn’s fiance is Matthew Kunde, son of the late king and queen of local agriculture, Rich and Saralee Kunde.

MIND THE GAP: The mom of the 5-year-old girl who fell into the space between the platform at SMART’s Petaluma station and a stopped rail car objected, rightly, that I made it seem that she feels responsible because she hadn’t been holding her daughter’s hand when the child walked off the train.

I mentioned a couple of times in the item that Melissa Strange acknowledged that as her family disembarked after a ride to San Rafael and back, she allowed daughter Josie to walk ahead of her, unattended.

That was true. But Melissa is adamant that at the time, she had no reason to believe it was not safe for her daughter to walk off the train alone.

“In hindsight,” she wrote in an email, “I would have held her hand had I known she could so easily fall. However, she wrote, “A 5-year-old child is independent and should be able to safely exit a train.”

I apologized to Melissa for overstating her mea culpa.

And I said also the moral of the story needs to be that parents of such youngsters must be vigilant when they’re together on a SMART platform.

Readers who’ve ridden the Underground in England point out the safety mantra that’s repeated in print and sometimes audibly at the stations:

Mind the Gap!

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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