’He Was Our Blessing’: Baby’s Birth Credited for Saving Santa Rosa Family From North Bay Fires

Matt and Jenny Waters lost nearly everything in the North Bay fires, but it is what they gained that they are most grateful for.

All was grand in the world last Sunday as the Waters couple snuggled up next to their newborn boy. But then devastation struck.

"It came out of nowhere," Matt Waters said.

A firestorm erupted in Santa Rosa. Wind-whipped flames set entire neighborhoods on fire, sending thousands of residents fleeing for safety under the cover of darkness.

Matt Waters, a wounded combat veteran who served in Iraq, decided to leave his family at the hospital and make a beeline for their home.

"I made it probably six houses away from our house and everything was on fire," he said. "I couldn't see our house cause the smoke was so strong and flames started shooting from one side of the street to the other. I figured I got to get out now. I can't try and risk that. I got to get back to the hospital and be with my family."

Matt Waters returned to the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Santa Rosa only to come face-to-face with even more calamitous news.

"We open up the window and I'm trying to see the neighborhood from the hospital room," Jenny Waters said. "As that's happening we can see the fire is kind of getting close. We see the mobile home park go up into flames from our window. It's right there, right outside the window."

As hospital employees swiftly evacuated roughly 130 patients from the building, the Waters family hopped in the family truck and fled from the flames.

A relative's home offered temporary shelter before the family of four was forced to evacuate yet again. Their run on the road finally came to an end when they arrived at Jenny Waters' mother's house in Windsor.

Matt Waters eventually made his way back to Santa Rosa. His home was nothing more than a mangled and smoldering pile of debris, but he managed to find two items amidst the ash: charred wedding rings.

Matt and Jenny Waters lost nearly everything, but what they gained in their new baby boy was nothing short of a blessing in disguise.

"We weren't supposed to be at that house that night," Jenny Waters said. "I think that we were meant to have him on that day so that we weren't there because there's a chance that if we were there, we wouldn't have gotten out with how quick I heard everything went in our neighborhood. He was our blessing. He saved our family."

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