Family bounces back after losing everything in Tubbs Fire


Andrew Cooper,

The devastating Tubbs Fire that burned Eric and Anna Satrom’s home to the ground will not stop them from raising their children in the same neighborhood on the same piece of property in Coffee Park. Not only are the Satroms recovering, they are upgrading.

“The loan officer submitted the application and I’ve signed with the builder,” Eric Satrom, who was born and raised in Santa Rosa, told The Pioneer. “We plan on doubling our house size. A step toward restoring our neighborhood.”

The Satroms are among the 5,500 families who lost their homes in the Tubbs Fire, according to figures released by the state insurance commissioner. At least 34 people died and a total of 7,500 buildings were destroyed in the October 2017 Northern California fires, the official reports stated.

Six months later there are signs that other community members like the Satrom’s are slowly rebuilding. However, the fires remain a vivid memory.

On Oct. 9, 2017, Eric and Anna put their toddlers Hazel and Henry to bed thinking only about the work week ahead of them. At around 1:30 a.m., the Satrom’s smoke alarm went off. Anna got up and checked the kitchen to see if she left the stove on but what she saw instead was astonishing.

“I came down the stairs and immediately saw our fence, 20 feet away from the house, was covered in flames,” said Anna. “I looked out another window and saw flames coming out of our neighbor’s two-story house.”

Eric and Anna immediately woke their children up, grabbed a few personal belongings and drove away in their SUV, escaping the potential death trap.

“Honey, kiss all that goodbye,” Eric remembered telling his wife as they drove away with the sight of their neighborhood on fire.

The Satrom’s drove 12 miles South to Santa Rosa to stay with Eric’s parents where they were able to find a temporary home on a farm in Petaluma shortly after. While they were physically safe, signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) started to kick in for the family.

“Every time I would hear a door slam, all I could think about was all the propane tanks and cars that blew up in our cul-de-sac,” Eric said.

Eric shared that his biggest concern is how it will impact his kids moving forward. This concern has already shown to be relevant. When the grandparents were barbecuing, three-year-old Hazel said to the family, “I smell fire, like the fire that took our house. I don’t like fire.”

Since losing their home, the Satroms have received an abundance of support. His sister initially set up a GoFundMe page for the family, which raised a substantial amount of money. One day, Eric got a call from the CEO of his company, Thyssenkrupp, who asked him for the GoFundMe information so he could put it on the company’s website. Thyssenkrupp is a German multinational firm focused on industrial engineering and steel production.

“My company has been amazing,” Eric added. “Not just with the GoFundMe, but they even provided me with a truck.”

With all of the support the Satrom’s received, they were able to put together a blueprint for their new house. The foundation has been prepped and the expected finish date for their new home is in October, one year after their original home burned to ashes.

“Honestly, I just want the house to be ready by Christmas,” Eric stated. “That would mean the world to me and my family. It’s just a curveball life threw at us. A new chapter in our lives.”