Filipino family loses everything to wildfire

Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 12 2017 12:44 PM

An aerial photo of the devastation left behind from the North Bay wildfires north of San Francisco, California. Reuters

A Filipino family lost everything after wildfires reduced most of their neighborhood to ash in Santa Rosa, California.

“We only had a couple of minutes to get out and we were not able to grab anything with us,” said Rina Pingol.

The Pingol family is leaning on each other for support. They are now staying with their son and daughter-in-law and are trying to figure out their next move.

They said their insurance will help them from the disaster that continues to cause more problems for their neighbors.

“It was just devastating to see it. A beautiful area turned into a massive destruction. It’s unbelievable,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Pingols’ neighbor, Ina D., and her family have received word that their home is safe.

“I was kind of mesmerized for a few minutes because the glow was too much and it was right there in front of me. And my husband had to tell me to just get stuff and leave right away,” she said.

Ina was set to start a new job at the Santa Rosa Hilton on Monday which later burned down.

With buildings ablaze everywhere, thick smoke in the air, Ina stayed focused on getting her family out of Santa Rosa.

“It was actually the only thing saving me from breaking down, the fact that I had to drive to San Francisco. My husband drove our other car and I drove my car with two kids and a dog so I had to stay calm,” she said.

Ina said she continues to stay in contact with her neighbors like the Pingol family for support and updates on the neighborhood.

“It’s like a ghost town. I feel bad for most of my friends and neighbors and we really love and it’s just breaking our hearts that this is happening,” she said.

For the Pingol family, despite this tragedy, they say they are still happy to be alive.

“We know that material things we can replace. Our lives are irreplaceable. Memories will stay in our hearts forever,” she said.

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