If you own a TV or check your Facebook, then chances are that you are well aware of the Tubbs Fire that took place last month in the Napa, Sonoma, and Lake counties of Northern California. The damage caused was tremendous as more than 5,500 buildings were destroyed – homes accounting for the majority with over 4,500 being lost in the fire. But unless you have seen the hard-hit areas in person, it is difficult to grasp just how much damage has been done and the toll it is taking on the community.
That was the case for us as we made the trip from Washington to Santa Rosa to distribute two of our light-duty matting products in the Santa Rosa area. What we witnessed was eerie – neighborhoods that looked like they had been attacked by bombs – houses were reduced to ash and cars had melted down to their frames making the make and model virtually unrecognizable.
The goal of our visit was to provide matting for families that had lost their homes and were now living in trailers. IPL Macro’ logistics manager, Russ Wilmot, came up with this idea while trying to think of a way either he or the company could offer some help. With the Winter season quickly approaching, Russ thought that our products could keep families out of the mud by providing patios, parking areas, storage pads, etc. for their current living situations.
His idea was put into action after we met a Santa Rosa local, Jason Gradney, at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Jason confirmed that there were victims of the fire that could make good use of the flooring so we stayed in touch as he composed a list of families who wanted it.
The day of distributing product to the Santa Rosa residents began in the Walmart parking lot where Russ, Rob Crawford, and myself met up with Jason. We had two pick-up trucks filled with as much Rola-Trac matting as we could fit and a flatbed trailer that held three large pallets of Supa-Trac Lite. Jason jumped in with Russ and we were on our way as Jason guided us around some of the hard-hit areas, like the Coffey Park neighborhood which lost 1,300 houses alone.
He also introduced us to various victims of the fire and we heard their stories of loss and panic while evacuating their homes. 70 mph winds were the catalyst in spreading the fire at relentless speeds, giving people essentially no time to collect personal belongings or valuables. Jason, who does custom upholstery work for cars, acquainted us with a couple of his friends that lost their prized cars and parts alongside their homes in which a considerable amount of their resources and time had been invested in.
One of the places Jason took us was John’s Formica Shop where we met Mark who lost his home. Like most of the people we visited that day, he didn’t fully know what to expect out of our mats and was pleasantly surprised by the robustness of the products. After seeing the product and getting a quick demonstration, he was then able to start naming people that had situations where either Rola-Trac or Supa-Trac Lite would have a positive impact – something that we encountered with others that day. The resulting decision we made was to leave two pallets of Supa-Trac Lite at the shop so that those who weren’t on Jason’s initial list of families could have a chance to grab some matting. We are also working on getting three more pallets there over the following weeks, which is roughly 4,200 square feet of product.
If you or someone you know is a victim of the Tubbs fire and have a situation in which our matting can be of help, contact John’s Formica Shop at (707) 544-8585. They are located at 2439 Piner Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.
It was a privilege to do what we could to help the Santa Rosa community. We thank all those who shared their stories with us and wish everyone affected by the fire the absolute best as they land back on their feet.
If you would like to make any donations, visit northbayfiredonations.com