There was excitement and emotion in Santa Rosa Wednesday at the reopening of Coffey Park, a community treasure that was leveled by the deadly Tubbs Fire three years ago.
An outsider might look at the park and not understand the excitement or emotion, but Jocelyn Carranza and her daughter Athena understand.
“It feels unbelievable. It’s a great happiness that just comes over you,” said Carranza, “I honestly cried walking into the park.”
The new Coffey Park is a gorgeous, nearly 6-acre park with a big playground, lots of luscious grass, a dog park, and an almost spiritual meaning to neighbors.
“Every day we take a step to recovery and I feel this is a huge one for us,” said Carranza.
In October 2017, the Tubbs Fire killed five people and turned 1,400 homes into ash -- one of them belonging to the Carranza family.
Athena, remembers seeing a house burn as she evacuated.
“it was really big and flames were coming out of it and I got scared at that point but I didn’t know what was happening,” she said.
Now, Athena has her mind on other, far more pleasant things.
“The monkey bars. I really forgot how to do it because I haven’t been to a park in a long time with monkey bars,” she said.
Colin Avedano Tucker was climbing and crawling and sliding at the new park, the very sight of which Overwhelmed his mother.
“A little kids playground where he used to always play was over there, and I just composed myself because I didn’t want to be the weirdo crying at the park ,” said Arika Avedano-Tucker.
A new park and a new day, and even for those who lost it all in the fire -- optimism.
“Our new house is even better,” said Eliana Kidane and Kee Donna. “It has a bigger backyard and our old house only had two rooms, in this house we have three.”
The Tubbs Fire did $16 million worth of damage to all of Santa Rosa Parks, Coffey Park being the crown jewel.