By the morning the whole community was burnt to the ground.
— KQED News (@KQEDnews) October 23, 2017
Solano later wanted to find out who the young man was that had saved her life, so she shared the video with KQED News.
Readers identified Riveras, and Solano later met with him to express her thanks.
“I was happy to see she was OK,” Riveras said regarding their meeting. “She’s taking everything pretty well. She’s a very strong woman and everything’s going to be OK.”
Another resident, Fran Bengtsson, saw what Donny did that night and also credits him with saving her life.
“He went across the street to this area, and he went down the street all the way over to Mocha Lane,” explained Bengtsson to KQED. “He was just incredible. If he hadn’t knocked on my door, you would not be holding a microphone to my mouth right now. So a hero. Just a tremendous hero. And so blessings on him, he saved my life.”
Donny didn’t think about his safety or possessions.
It took about 30 minutes for the area to be completely destroyed and the fire marshal told them they had 5 minutes to evacuate, said Riveras.
He said firefighters did all they could, but he wondered why no one else was helping wake people up. For him, the choice to run or help others was an easy one.
“They could have died, and I don’t think I could have gone to sleep at night knowing I could have knocked on a door or two,” said Riveras.
Riveras himself lost everything he owned to the fire and the front of his red Ford truck literally melted from the heat.
Riveras wants to put the night of the fire behind him as quickly as he can. It had made a significant impact on the young man.
“I just kind of see it all as a bad dream. It isn’t real, so I just keep moving forward,” he said. For now, he’s looking for an apartment.
“Finding a place to live will be really hard right now with the prices in this county,” said Riveras. “And at my age with not as much experience as most, it will be tough to get back on my feet … but there’s nothing I can’t do if I put my mind to it.”
For those interested in helping Riveras recover from his own loss, you can visit this GoFundMe site.
Below is a news report from KPIX 5 News showing the aftermath that the Tubbs fire left in Coffey Park.