The 911 dispatcher asked the frantic woman on the other end of the phone call if she was safe. The answer was immediate: “No.”
Fire was burning all around the Santa Rosa couple’s Riebli Road neighborhood on the night of Oct. 8, cutting off their escape. They jumped into a neighbor’s pool — “is that a good thing to do?” the woman asked the dispatcher during the call, which started at 12:42 a.m. Oct. 9. Doubtful the fire that started near Calistoga had already reached the rural neighborhood outside Santa Rosa city limits, the dispatcher double-checked: “Are there flames there?”
“Yes, they’re right in front of me!” the panicked woman said.
The harrowing scene was one of the more than a thousand 911 calls handled during the first six hours of the deadly fires that broke out across the county Oct. 8, ultimately burning 137 square miles and killing 24 people.