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Her children, Gabriel, 34, and Cassandra, 38, barely had time to grab their mother’s pink purse before the fire was “lapping at the door,” she said.
With no time to get her wheelchair, Reynolds-Thompson’s children held her up and carried her out of the house as the eucalyptus tree in their front yard ignited in flames and crashed down on their wooden fence.
Reynolds-Thompson was one of nearly 300 people who crowded into the high school gym Thursday. Most had nowhere else to go.
Sonoma resident Anne Shapiro has been working 12-hour volunteer shifts since Monday. Shapiro, also a retired nurse, has helped evacuees fill prescriptions and has treated patients with high blood pressure and allergies.
She said the gym had become a makeshift home for those who lost everything or were desperate to escape the city’s acrid air.
“There are signs on the [Sonoma] plaza today, and it makes me cry, but they say, ‘The love here is thicker than smoke,'” Shapiro said. “And it’s true.”
Chiara Sottile reported from Sonoma. Daniel Arkin reported from New York.