Video courtesy of CNN
SANTA ROSA, CA (KRON/WCMH) — A 24-year-old woman escaped the Santa Rosa wildfire by bicycle, all while hauling her 70-pound pit bull on her back.
Around 2 a.m. Monday, Natasha Wallace was driving home from studying at Santa Rosa Junior College when she realized her Coffey Park neighborhood was on fire.
She instantly thought of her 4-year-old dog, Bentley.
Wallace shoved him in the car and took off down the road.
Within minutes she was stuck in traffic, along with everyone else trying to flee the deadly fire. Wallace knew she wouldn’t be able to drive out, so she came up with another plan to get herself and Bentley to safety.
“It was coming faster than I could leave in traffic, so I went back and got my bike,” she said.
She also grabbed her duffel bag, which she turned into a makeshift sidecar for Bentley.
“So I grabbed my dog and I told him, ‘Hey man this is serious, you need to just sit in the bag.’ And he, he hopped right in,” Wallace said.
After making it a few miles down the road, Wallace says a truck driver named Paul Johnson pulled over and gave them a ride the rest of the way.
“I just want to say thank you to him,” she said.
Thursday night, Wallace was reflecting on how lucky she was, not only to have survived the fire, but to have people around to help.
Although everything she owned is gone, she still feels a strong sense of gratitude.
“I don`t even know how to express how grateful I am.”