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Sonoma State President Describes Narrow Escape From Fire

October 16, 2017

Sonoma State University President Judy Sakaki and her husband, Patrick McCallum, lost their home last week in the wildfires ravaging California. The house, however, was the least of their worries as they were running for help at 4 a.m., with nothing in sight but more fires.

They recounted their experience in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I was thinking, ‘We’re going to make it through this thing. We are not going to let this fire kill us,’” McCallum said. “But as you start breathing smoke, start getting dizzy, you start questioning whether you’re going to make it.”

It was Sakaki who woke up to the fire alarms going off in the home, prompting her and her husband's evacuation.

The couple originally thought the fire was limited to their own house, but once they fled -- barefoot -- they looked into a scene of “pure chaos.”

“For miles in every direction, everything was burning -- and there was no one else in sight,” The Chronicle wrote, going on to describing the confusion and disorientation that followed for Sakaki and McCallum as they fled through flame-filled streets.

A Santa Rosa firefighter rescued them.

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