After attending the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas and surviving the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, a woman returned to California only to have her Santa Rosa home destroyed by a fast-moving wildfire one week later.
“Last Sunday, I was running from bullets,” 51-year-old Michella Flores told Bay Area television station KTVU. “This Sunday, I was running from fire.
Flores, a flight attendant who has also worked as a firefighter and a paramedic, said she was driving home to Santa Rosa when she saw glow of the fire on a hillside. She had been sharing the rental house with her parents while preparing to move to another part of the city.
She told KTVU she had her parents pack to-go bags just in case, and was able to give her dog Baylee a walk before she turned on a dispatch service she used to use as a paramedic and heard their street name.
Flores’ parents evacuated, but she stayed, grabbing a garden hose and joining two firefighters who were working to keep the fire from spreading to the properties along Sullivan Street.
“I was really shook up after Vegas,” Flores said. “I was shaking and I couldn’t calm down. When I was fighting the fire at my house, I was more in a ‘task’ mode, and so I compartmentalized it.”
She worked until 4:30 a.m., then drove to the airport in Oakland to continue a training, thinking the house might survive the blaze.
When she returned, however, she found out the fire had consumed the trees behind the home and demolished the house, along with almost everything she owned.
Flores said she’s trying to compartmentalize things to deal with everything that she’s experienced since Oct. 1.
“Right now, I’m in this space where things need to get done,” she told KTVU. “And I’ll deal with the rest later on.”