SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Families in Eastern Santa Rosa returned home Wednesday after being evacuated on Sunday due to the Glass Fire.
For thousands of people, including Dino Moniodis, returning home brought a sigh of relief. The house he grew up in is still standing in Santa Rosa’s Rincon Valley neighborhood.
“I was pretty nervous pulling up because I didn’t know if the house was going to be here,” Moniodis said. “I could have sworn leaving here Sunday night that the house was going to go. I was in my backyard looking at flames that were 45 to 50 feet tall.”
Moniodis is among 19,482 people in the city of Santa Rosa that have been allowed to return to their homes under an evacuation warning. A mandatory evacuation order remains in effect for 8,290 people, according to Sgt. Chris Mahurin of the Santa Rosa Police Department.
“We know it's stressful,” Mahurin said. “We know people want to go home and our goal is to get people home as soon as possible, but when it is safe.”
He said officials are evaluating daily which areas can be re-opened. Residents are urged to check the city’s website for updated evacuation zones.
Dan Harkey, who lives in the Skyhawk neighborhood, expressed frustration over which areas remain evacuated. He is not sure if his house is still standing and he has not been allowed to return.
“All the reports I get are contradictory to each other, saying this area is under a warning, but then I go to check and it's still evacuated and I'm not allowed to go in,” Harkey said. “This is how many years in a row now we're evacuated? I lost count. Three or four? This is getting real old real fast.”
As for Moniodis, he is grateful to firefighters for saving his homes and hundreds of others, but he’s still nervous about another red flag warning that goes into effect on Thursday. He’s home, but not yet ready to unpack.
“Everybody is kind of on edge and worried about it, but yeah I definitely will be looking at my phone tonight and into tomorrow,” Moniodis said. “I think everybody knows over these last few years, how quickly these fires can spread.”
Cristina Rendon is an Anchor/Reporter for KTVU. Email her at email@example.com and follow her on Facebook & Twitter: @CristinaKTVU.