Awoken by smoke and surrounded by flames, a St. Helena couple said they rushed out of their home early Monday morning, barely escaping the Glass Fire, according to KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento. 

Susana Gerong and Roy Desmazes said they awoke around 2 a.m. Monday to find their entire house filled with smoke.

“If we would have slept for 10 more minutes, we would have probably died from the smoke,” Desmazes said.

Gerong said even as they were fleeing, she didn’t know if they could make it out because “all you see is fire and smoke.”

The could said their most haunting memories will be of being surrounded by flames and the crackling sound of trees set ablaze.

Desmazes said the flames stretched more than 100 feet tall.

“That’s a wall of fire coming at us,” he said. “Every tree it hit, you could hear it exploding.”

The couple told KTXL it was the second time they have had to evacuate. 

“I’m already sleeping with my shoes on, because God is telling you to be prepared,” Gerong said.

While they left a majority of their now ash-covered belongings behind, they took what they could, including their cat named Lucky.

As they left their neighborhood, Gerong said she noticed a firefighter working to put out the flames. Their St. Helena home is still standing, but the one across the street had been reduced to rubble, still shrouded in smoke Thursday.

The couple said they are prepared to wait at least three weeks until they can move back in. 

They also said a bit of news that made them smile is when they found out their female cat is really a boy. They made the discovery when they had to put Lucky in a temporary shelter while they remained displaced.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Glass Fire straddling Napa and Sonoma counties had charred 56,780 acres — or more than 88 square miles — and was 5% contained.


By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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