ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KTVU) - Rohnert Park resident Mandy Olivares Hillard noticed something different in the park behind her house yesterday. Blankets, sleeping bags and tents had popped up, but it wasn’t a camping trip—instead, exhausted firefighters were using the space to rest and refuel.
Since Oct. 8, firefighters have worked around the clock to battle deadly wildfires that have ripped through northern California, and on Oct. 15 they were taking a “much needed break” in Rohnert Park, Hillard wrote in a Facebook post.
City residents were quick to show their appreciation to the first responders, offering them food, beds, showers and more.
“The offers were all declined and we were told over and over how appreciative THEY are of US for our hospitality,” Hillard wrote. “I don’t know how we can ever thank all of the fire, police, CHP, sheriff, national guard, PG&E, 911 operators, medical staff, volunteers etc. for everything they have done.”
Rohnert Park is not alone, KTVU viewers across the area have taken to Facebook to report seeing exhausted firefighters resting outside, and have expressed gratitude for their work battling the blaze.
Kiara Evans posted a photo of sleeping firefighters in Sonoma County, one even using a rock as a makeshift pillow.
“I have a sense of what they go through as first responders,” Evans wrote, noting her boyfriend is a local police officer. “It takes a ton of courage and a really great heart to do the work that they do.”
A similar scene took place on the lawn outside of Susan Reilly Brian’s mother’s home in the Orchard Mobile Home Estates. Brian shared a photo of three firefighters sleeping on the grass next to their truck.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” she wrote.