While in shelter, couple worried about others’ fire challenges

By Jim Burns (10-11-17)

Sam and Mickie Orchard had their bags packed on a Sunday night in October, prepared to leave their Santa Rosa home the next day for a vacation in Palm Springs. Instead, shortly after 2 a.m. on that Monday, October 9, the couple took an unplanned trip to a shelter the American Red Cross opened at the Finley Community Center in town.

Photo of Sam and Mickie Orchard, inside a Red Cross shelter in Santa Rosa.

Sam and Mickie Orchard are shown inside a Red Cross shelter in Santa Rosa.

Receiving a “reverse 911” phone call, Sam, 87, and Mickie, 86, were told to immediately leave their Lake Park Drive home in the Neilson Ranch area of Santa Rosa. Their neighborhood was one of many that emergency personnel evacuated due to the wildfires that cut a destructive path across this part of Northern California that week.

Read the rest of the couple’s story.