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Santa Rosa residents thank the inmate-firefighters who saved their homes

What a scene Wednesday morning in a Santa Rosa neighborhood that's close-up to destruction but stands intact because of a team of state prison inmates.

A team of orange-clad firefighters from the Washington Ridge Conservation Camp returned to the enclave north of the former Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital site and below Fountaingrove to meet some of people whose homes they saved a week ago Monday.

Inmate-firefighters from the camp just east of Nevada City stood shoulder-and-shoulder as neighbors stepped from one to the next, thanking them profusely and shaking their hands and/or hugging them.

“It reminded me of what happens after a soccer game,” said resident Janet Condron.

Condron, a former Santa Rosa mayor and the wife of retired SSU vice president Dan Condron, feels certain her home and those of many neighbors would be ashes were it not for the actions of the conservation-camp firefighters.

Some of them told Condron and her neighbors they were happy to help and appreciated the rare opportunity to return to a fire scene and meet people who live there.

Said Condron, “It was therapeutic for both.”

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