Two months after the Tubbs Fire rampaged from Calistoga to Santa Rosa and back again, about 300 people turned out to support some of the firefighters who protected their neighbors’ homes even as their own were being threatened.
Capt. Jeff Lemelin of the Mountain Volunteer Fire Department said the Dec. 9 fundraiser, held at Triple S Ranch on Mountain Home Ranch Road, has netted $24,000 for the department, a new record. Donations are still coming in as a result of the 3,000 mailers the department sent out.
“This is the best we’ve ever had, obviously because of the energy from everything that’s been going on with the Tubbs Fire,” Lemelin said. “People want to help out in any way that they can. They’re basically helping us to help them.”
The department’s dozen volunteer firefighters responded to a fire on Mountain Home Ranch Road at 9:45 p.m. on Oct. 8 and spent the rest of the night evacuating residents who were in the path of the Tubbs Fire, including at a senior care facility in the Fountaingrove neighborhood, and protecting people who were unable to leave Mark West Lodge. The firefighters kept working even though they knew their own homes were in danger.
Lemelin, who served as chief during the fire, said he came very close to losing his home. Another member of his department wasn’t as lucky.
“After the fire people realized how important it is to have volunteers and people with good equipment who can help them when they have a disaster,” Lemelin said.
Three bands performed at the fundraiser, which was catered by Napa Valley Crust and featured pizza, cupcakes donated by Kara’s Cupcakes, and donated beer and wine.
The money raised will be earmarked for equipment. The department’s long-term goal is to buy a new fire engine.
Donations can still be made to mountainvolunteerfire.com or to Mountain Volunteer Fire, 519 Sharp Road, Calistoga, CA 94515.