Homes destroyed by the Tubbs Fire seen near Fountaingrove Parkway

David McNew/Getty Images

Fire-Scarred Santa Rosa Neighborhood Still In The Dark

Jeffrey Schaub
July 11, 2019 - 10:56 am

SANTA ROSA — Residents of Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood have literally been in the dark since the area was ravaged by the Tubbs Fire in 2017, and now they're speaking out about the dangers that they're seeing around them. 

The neighborhood’s 500 streetlights were burned, broken or melted in the fire and are still not fixed.

“It’s really disheartening to be forgotten,” said resident Loren Dias, who said there have been more car accidents and home burglaries since the lights went out. "They’ve done studies that show that basically unlit areas increase crime so we’re really concerned.”

City officials told Dias that streetlights are PG&E's responsibility, he recalled. 

But the utility told KCBS Radio that before it can restore service, the city has to fix the lights and wiring.

Victoria Fleming represents Fountaingrove on the city council and said the city was focused initially on fixing the broken water system.

“That was something that city staff made a priority of, and was willing to spend up to $40 million to get that taken care of," said Fleming. "Luckily we didn’t have to spend quite as much money but that’s where our resources went.”

Repairs to the streetlights are now underway but the process is complicated, according to Fleming. 

“Our lights that are primarily made out of steel may look fine but the interior wiring may be melted,” said Fleming. “If the steel has been damaged to such a point that it needs to be reordered there’s a 16-week lead time to get it reordered.”

The city is hoping to have the lights turned back on by this winter.