The Kenwood Press
: 11/01/2017

Stories from the ashes



Pig 1 and Pig 2

Two overstuffed pigs
These two were fed by everybody!
John Krafft and his daughter Katelyne live in on the corner of Lawndale, Bristol and Keiser roads where John raises pigs. Before the fire he only had two sows which he kept for breeding. He had to leave them behind the night of the fire, and feared the worst, but when he snuck back in the next day, he was amazed to find them alive. Their open-air, metal frame shelter was the only structure still standing, and John figures the pigs hunkered down in the mud and made it through somehow. Equally amazing was the fact that their food bin hadn't burned, so he fed them breakfast before he had to leave.

In the days to follow, there were a number of people driving around here feeding and watering livestock and animals, and Pig 1 and Pig 2 were the happy recipients of all of them. John has heard from over a dozen people who stopped by, including a sheriff's deputy, someone from the fire department, and some generous person who dropped off 100 pounds of pig feed. A neighbor on Bristol has been bringing them water every day. Nice as all this is, the pigs were being seriously over-fed, so John finally put up a sign saying, “Please don't feed the pigs, we have them taken care of.”

If you pass by there you'll notice something else besides the pigs - Halloween decorations. John and Katelyne wanted to do something that would make people smile, and they put cobwebs, pumpkins and ghosts in front of what used to be their house. John also invites people to suggest more appropriate names for his sows… any ideas?

A classic Kenwood story

A little moment of light for Cindy and Mark Tucker who lost their house in the firestorm that consumed most of Treehaven: someone from the Kenwood Fire Department, Cindy's not sure who, rushed in and grabbed photos of their kids off the wall in the hallway, including photos of their son Dustin who died nine years ago. Cindy said “That just made my heart smile.”

Cosmic joke?

Janet and Kyle Fisher
This fragment found floating on the Fisher’s pool depicts Ronald Reagan thinking “When I open my eyes, it will all be over.”
Janet and Kyle Fisher's house was one of the few that did not burn on Treehaven, and look what Janet found floating on the surface of their pool the next day! Janet could not believe what she was seeing, and snapped this photo.

Coincidence?

Loralee Wellington w SF ff
Loralee Wellington (center) with firefighters from San Francisco who were in Glen Ellen and saved the Glen Ellen Community Church.
Our wonderful proofreader Loralee Wellington and her family lost their home on London Ranch Road, so when Loralee was at REI on Oct. 18 and saw a fire crew in the parking lot, she went over to talk to them. She writes, “I noticed a large group of firefighters and several fire engines gathered together near the back of the parking lot. I went over to thank them for their service to us, and during the conversation, they asked where we lived; when I told them we had lived in Glen Ellen, their faces just lit up, and they said that they had been there, specifically, fighting to save the church and town. How amazing that of all the 50 to 75-plus strike teams that came to help us, I would have the opportunity to personally thank the ones who fought for us!” They were from San Francisco. Loralee says the reason they were in the parking lot was because they were assembling a new bike they had just bought at Toys R Us for a little boy whose bike had been destroyed in the fire... awesome people!

Eating well, even in a disaster

Andre Benguerel is the son of Joe (Frenchy) and Denise Benguerel, and their entire family has been part of the KFD it seems like forever. Shortly after the fires started, Andre drove up from San Francisco, showed up at the firehouse, and started cooking. According to Barney Locke, “Andre worked around the clock for probably a week with minimum rest, turning out continuous meals not only for the first responders but for those community members that did not evacuate. He was a stable, comforting personality for those of us experiencing the trauma and confusion of the event. Always a smile and a welcoming word, he truly played a major role in helping the community cope with this disaster. Not to mention he's a damn good cook!!”

One more feel good story…

After firefighters saved the beautiful home of Laura and John Benward on Pythian Road, one of them asked Laura if they ever have weddings there. Laura immediately replied, “For you, yes!” At the moment, details are still being worked out, but if all falls into place, firefighter Kody and his fiancée will have their dream Wine Country wedding with everything, from site to catering to rentals, all donated. And if anyone can pull it all together, it's Laura!

Shout-out to…

Kenwood Vineyards for constructing and distributing almost 350 sifter boxes for people to use when they visit their burned properties. There are still boxes available at the winery for anyone who needs them... Jeff Tyler at Palooza for opening his restaurant doors to those of us straggling back into town, and giving away free drinks and free pizza... Sam and Lakhwinder Singh for reopening the Kenwood Market in record time, which entailed an epic clean-out of their refrigerators and freezers... Aspen and Mike of Swede's Feeds for providing the community with emergency pet and livestock food.

I hope you are all safe and well, and that these stories have given you some idea of our resilience, and inspiration about our collective future.

This event is so enormous that we will be covering it and its related issues for years to come. I know there are many other stories of weird coincidences and moments of extreme generosity, lightness, and humor. Please send them my way, along with any other news and pictures for Village Chat. It's easy to do; just email ann@kenwoodpress.com or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP