An unsung hero
EDITOR: My son, Lauren Goodman, lost his home early Monday. He lived on a hillside on the property of Paradise Ridge Winery in a refurbished 150-year-old farmhouse.
After awakening when his 6-week-old son awoke to nurse, and, smelling smoke, he went outside to investigate and saw evidence of the advancing Tubbs fire just beginning to curl over the ridgetop. By the time he had collected belongings and evacuated his family, flames engulfed the winery. He packed his family into one of their two cars with instructions to meet him at his mom’s home five miles away.
But he didn’t stop there. He ran 100 yards to the home of a woman living a bit higher on the property. It was 2 a.m. The lights were out, but her car was in front. He banged on the door. His sleepy neighbor refused to open. He yelled and pointed, and threatened to break the glass, and finally she responded. Yanking her out of the cottage, he showed her the flaming ridgetop, and got her, after collecting a few belongings, into her car and on her way. He then raced to his vehicle and started the winding mile down the hillside.
As he approached Redwood Avenue near Cardinal Newman High School, he suddenly realized he’d failed to check on another neighbor, a 91-year-old non-driving friend farther down the ridge. With flames visible and howling 50 mph whipping winds, he turned around.
Repeating the process, he banged on her door. Flames were now visible coming down the slope toward their homes. He awoke his elderly friend, and she quickly gathered a few things, but refused to come until she had collected her three dogs. They were “un-cooperative,” he said.
As the flames approached, and with embers in the air, he finally carried his neighbor out of her house and into the car. With flames less than 100 yards away, they drove down the road.
Lauren is one of the unsung heroes of this tragedy. He has lost the home where both of his sons were born, the only home they have known.
This is but one of the tales of feats that will emerge form the ashes of one of nature’s terrible tragedies.
MICHAEL P. GOODMAN
Slept past evacuation
EDITOR: The power went out about 10:30 p.m. I figured that was my sign to go to bed. Sometime during the night, I woke up to a loud noise outside. I fell back asleep.
The next morning, Monday, I woke up at 7 a.m. and noticed that the power was still off. I went outside to get the paper. But no paper. Strange.
Then I looked across the street and couldn’t believe my eyes. The historic oak tree on the corner had been split in two —and most of the tree was on the ground. What a tragedy. It was a magnificent tree and must have been a couple hundred years old. The noise I heard in the middle of the night must have been the tree.
After breakfast, I decided to go play some pickleball. When I got to the courts, they were empty, and there were no cars in the normally busy parking lot. I heard a squawk from an emergency vehicle, then a loud speaker from a police car. “Emergency. This is a mandatory evacuation. You must leave. Right now.”