Smith: Plucked from rubble, grandmother’s golden globe glimmers once again

Many hands recover and restore a family treasure lost to the Tubbs fire; Fergus reappears after nearly three months and George Fiori gets cooking.|

One imagines the heart inside everyone who lost a home to the fires stops cold each time another implication or consequence or casualty springs to mind.

It occurred suddenly to Kelly Bracewell that she’d had at her Fountaingrove home one of her daughter’s dearest possessions: a gold pendant, a tiny Earth dotted with diamonds.

Maria Carrillo High grad Janae Farmiloe, now 30, received it from a late grandmother who’d had diamonds placed at the parts of the world she’d visited. Kelly had borrowed it from Janae, intending to surprise her by having rubies placed in tribute to their trips together to Italy and Portugal.

Then her house burned.

Kelly mentioned the lost piece of heirloom jewelry to her brother, Michael Bracewell. He and his wife, Heather, went to the ruins and dug and sifted until they found the globe of gold.

It looked like the sun had enveloped it.

Kelly took it to E.R. Sawyer Jewelers, which since the ?fires has taken in more than ?1,500 pieces of damaged jewelry and many clumps of melted gold and silver and such. Lead goldsmith Urbano Mogollan and his brother, Israel Martinez, set to work to restore the scorched mini-Earth.

Janae wasn’t talking dollars and cents when she declared the pendant “is all the more valuable now.”


WHERE’S FERGUS? For almost three months, Marty LaPlante ached for her handsome, tricolor tabby cat, wondering if he’d escaped the flames that swallowed up her Glen Ellen home, wondering if she’d see him again.

As flames bore down on Trinity and Dunbar roads, Marty loaded into two cars her clan’s four goats, four dogs, one rabbit and one of the two cats.

“We saw the flames and we had to go,” she said. She called and called for the 6-year-old Fergus but he didn’t appear.

As soon as LaPlante was allowed to return to the remains of her home she set up a cat house and feeding station.

Desperate to learn all she could about finding a lost cat, she consulted with Julie Linford of Marty followed Linford’s instructions and bought the motion-activated camera she recommended.

For weeks, she checked the camera for any sign of Fergus. She’d come close to accepting that Fergus was gone forever when, on Tuesday evening, while at a friend’s property, she checked the most recent images captured by the camera and spied two fuzzy, nocturnal photos of a cat.

Fergus? LaPlante drove at once to where her home had been and called for the cat.

In less than a minute, “He just came walking right up to me,” LaPlante said. He’d been gone 86 days.

Skinny, hungry and dirty but unharmed, Fergus ate well Tuesday night and for much of Wednesday was curled up and sawing zzz’s in LaPlante’s temporary home, a travel trailer.


$6 CHEESEBURGERS are a reopening day special today at the drive-in in Larkfield that George Fiori feared he’d lost to the Tubbs fire.

The flames did destroy George’s house a short ways away. But Fiori’s Buns & Burgers came through, though with a fair amount of smoke, water and electrical damage.

George, whose family roots in Sonoma County restaurateuring reach back to 1935, has the joint looking like new and ready to sizzle anew.

You can reach Staff Writer Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 or

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