Sunday, September 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Collinsville starts long, hard road to rebuilding

9 fire update 1

Vincent Tackett, center, prays with Cpt. Jonathan Harvey of the Salvation Army following an informational meeting for the victims of Friday's fire in Collinsville at the Montezuma Fire Protection District building in Birds Landing, Tuesday. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | July 09, 2014 |

BIRDS LANDING — Hawk Baldetta and his mother Ruth Baldetta both would like to rebuild their home, which was one of eight destroyed in Collinsville on the Fourth of July.

“We really want to rebuild. I wanted to raise my children there,” said Hawk Baldetta after a Tuesday night town hall meeting in Birds Landing, where Solano County Office of Emergency Services and nonprofits such as The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross laid out what they could do to help Collinsville residents rebuild.

Three homes were damaged in the four-alarm fire, in addition to the homes that were destroyed. The fire displaced 25 people.

The big concern voiced Tuesday by several people at the fire hall where the meeting took place was what breaks the now-homeless residents would receive in the permitting processes and costs to resurrect their homes.

Half of the houses that burned were uninsured and many were built many years before present county, state and federal construction standards were put into place.

“We will stretch as much as possible,” Solano County Building Official David Cliche said of working with residents to meet county code requirements, but that can’t be the case with federal codes that any reconstruction will have to meet.

Hawk Baldetta figured he possibly could squeeze out enough to put in a modular home “and we are going to work toward that,” but added, “honestly, we don’t know where we are going to land.”

Neighbors and community organizations have spent the days since the fire turning out to help where they can.

Willie Rosewall, wife of the Montezuma Fire Protection District fire chief, said she and others have spent the past few days sorting though tables filled with clothing donated to replace what Collinsville residents have lost.

“The people here have been so helpful,” Ruth Baldetta said. “You don’t realize how many nice people there are.”

Groups such as the Saxon Creed Motorcycle Club have turned out to deliver a considerable number of cases of bottled water and boxes of food as well as organize fundraisers such as the Collinsville Fire Relief Taco Feed, which will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at 401 Montezuma St. in Rio Vista.

“This is our community and these are our neighbors,” Saxon Creed member Robert Anderson said of why he was pitching in.

Donations of food and water for fire victims can still be dropped off at local Salvation Army locations at 586 E. Wigeon Way, Suisun City; 1220 Missouri St., Fairfield; 630 Orange Drive, Vacaville; and 630 Tuolumne St., Vallejo. Organizers are specifically requesting grocery store gift cards.

Representatives of the umbrella agency for local nonprofits, the Solano Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, recommended that community members make monetary donations specifically identified for Collinsville relief to be made to the American Red Cross, 1545 N. Texas St., Suite 101, Fairfield, or to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1644, Suisun City, CA 94585. Online donations are welcome at www.redcross.org and www.SolanoArmyofHope.org.

There were only about 20 homes in Collinsville, so the blaze practically wiped out half of the town along the Sacramento River that carries a tradition of fishing and the fame of Joe DiMaggio’s one-time residence.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Montezuma Fire Protection District Chief Joe Rosewall.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
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