For many of us, the scent of smoke is more gut-gripping than it used to be.
It certainly is for Ann DuBay and Jeremy Olsan, who lost their home northeast of Santa Rosa to the Tubbs fire.
They and Jeremy’s folks, who also were burned out, were in Santa Fe, New Mexico, days ago with a tour group from Santa Rosa’s Congregation Shomrei Torah. On the last night of the trip, they were enjoying cocktails on the patio atop the six-floor Drury Plaza Hotel when that smell wafted by.
“Being uber-alert to fire,” Ann emailed, “we looked around and saw a dark, thick cloud immediately above us.”
The fire-tested Santa Rosans rushed to action, alerting patrons of the hotel’s rooftop restaurant and health club. Jeremy and Ann already were racing for the bottom floor when the hotel’s fire alarm sounded.
Staff members and firefighters evacuated everyone and attacked two fires: One in the hotel’s kitchen and one that ran up the exhaust chimney to the roof. The evacuation lasted about three hours.
For Jeremy and Ann and others visiting from Sonoma County, it was déjà vu in downtown Santa Fe. Smoke won’t ever smell the same again.
CHRIS IS RETOOLED: Chris Rhodes feels especially blessed for a guy who lost to the firestorms his self-built home and the nearby shop essential to one of his two jobs.
In addition to directing the Westminster Woods kids’ camp out between Occidental and Monte Rio, Rhodes has for 32 years run a small home construction and remodeling business.
Many of his work tools were in the devoured shop alongside the Parker Hill Road home he shared with his wife Liz. “I didn’t get anything out of my shop,” he said.
Rhodes hopes to rebuild his home, and he’s got displaced fire survivors asking for his help with theirs. He was in need of a hand himself but isn’t the type to ask.
Rhodes came to the attention of people at Intuit/QuickBooks looking to help out a small business owner struggling to come back from the fires.
The benefactors brought him a new set of tools, a computer, and the new QuickBooks software — and a check for $10,000.
Greatly grateful, Rhodes said that before the fires he planned to ease out of the construction trade. That plan is off.
COOKS WITH KIDS: Who do you suppose is the new chef at Chop’s Teen Club?
Give up? It’s Steve Rose, who operated the former Vineyards Inn in Kenwood with his wife, Colleen, for 35 years and also mentored students in the Maria Carrillo High culinary program run formerly by Mary Schiller.
At Chop’s in downtown Santa Rosa, Steve is introducing kids to the kitchen and supervising the club’s Catering Crew. He’s loving having youngsters new to cooking ask him questions.
A popular one, “What else can I do, Chef? What else can I do?”
JAXON & THE DUBS: KSRO talk-show host Steve Jaxon is bouncing off the walls.
He’s excited that on Monday afternoon he’ll broadcast The Drive from the Golden State Warriors’ digs in Oakland.
For past coverage of the slayings, go here