More than 1,100 home were destroyed the night the fire swallowed Coffey Park. Thirty-thousand people evacuated, and a day later all that was left was dust. Broken glass from cars dot the street, and molten plastic trash cans spill over on the sidewalk.
The first sense that you are approaching Coffey Park is the smell – burned, almost charred earth, metal, grass, plastic, all blended together. It looks like something out of a movie set –“Apocalypse Now” and “War of the Worlds,” – but it’s not. All you see is pure destruction – the fire scorched everything. People’s homes, cars, belongings lost in the ashes forever.
Outside of patrol cars, the first sign of life days after the whole area burned down was a couple walking their dog through the lifeless streets. “It looks like a war-zone, doesn’t it?” they say.
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Some residents of Santa Rosa's Coffey Park neighborhood returned to their homes after they survived the deadly wildfires. But very few think they can continue to live there.