On 1 October 2017, Michella Flores was using a discount offered to flight crews to stay in the Hooters Hotel in Las Vegas between assignments. She walked down the street to catch Jason Aldean’s set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival from outside the fence and ending up witnessing the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Flores hid in the lobby of a casino until the gunfire stopped … but the intrusion of tragedy into her life didn’t end there: “Last Sunday, I was running from bullets. This Sunday, I was running from fire,” she later said.
— infowe (@infowe) October 15, 2017
Flores, who worked as a firefighter and paramedic before her current jobs as a part-time flight attendant and customer service representative at Kaiser Air in Santa Rosa, returned from Las Vegas to her parents’ home, where she had been staying while in the process of moving. Then, as Oakland station KTVU reported:
She left the airport on Sunday night to return to her parent’s rental home. Approaching her parent’s doorsteps, she saw an orange glow from the hillside. She knew from fighting fires, that the glow was not good. But she thought it was far enough away so that she didn’t panic. She took her dog, Baylee, for a walk. Just in case, she told her parents, pack your bags.
And because she’s been a first responder, she decided to tune into Redcom, a dispatch service. All of a sudden, she heard the dispatchers say “Sullivan,” her parent’s street. She called her mom. “The fire’s here!” her mom told her. She raced home. Her parents had gotten out, and together with Sebastopol firefighters “Hunter” and “Randy,” she fought the flames with a garden hose until 4:30 a.m. At that hour, some of the flames had licked the frame, but the house was still standing.
When she returned home to Santa Rosa that evening, however, a fire truck was still on her street — a likely indicator that something had gone wrong. Indeed, the trees behind her parents’ house had caught on fire while she had been at work. She pulled up to her parent’s driveway “and the house was gone,” she said. “The fire crews were just mopping up.”
“Almost everything I own is gone,” she said. “My bed, my bike, my clothes, my flight attendant uniforms.”
The Flores family has set up a GoFundMe to help Michella and her parents rebuild their lives:
On October 9, 2017 Mom, Dad and Michella’s (Sam and Kathi’s) house burned to the ground. With Geoff’s and Michella’s help, Mom and Dad were able to leave the house with the dogs and clothes on their back but nothing else. Mich, a former firefighter, helped the firefighters who were trying to save the house but ultimately lost the fight. After being in the Las Vegas shooting, Mich came home expecting calm and a few days later the house burned down. It has not been a good few weeks for her. Everything in the house furniture, clothes and mementos were lost in the fire, not just Mom and Dad’s stuff, but Mich’s as well.
Many of you have been asking what you can do to help and I thought this was the best way. Mom, Dad, Geoff, Mich and the dogs, need everything from toothbrushes and dog food to clothes and shoes. (Yes, Dad left with his slippers.) Nothing was insured and I am guessing it is too late to discuss the virtues of renters insurance. I know my parents and sister have helped a lot of people in their time of need and now it is they who need the help. Any donation would be appreciated.
All money raised will go to Mich, Mom, Dad and Geoff to help them start the next phase of their life. Mich needs all of her work uniforms, housewares and furniture for her new rental. (Her uniforms are not cheap!) Mom, Dad and Geoff need the same (minus the uniforms) as they figure out their next steps. Baylee, Angel and Vianna (the dogs) lost their home and belongings as well and will need food, leashes, beds, bowls and a few toys to help ease their transition. It has been equally hard on them.