Martin Espinoza, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
When deciding whether to replace his charred Fountaingrove home with a house made with wood or concrete, William Cavalli considered two things — history and the fable of the Three Little Pigs.
More than 50 years before last October’s devastating Tubbs fire, the 1964 Hanly fire followed a similar destructive path from Calistoga to Santa Rosa, burning through a far less-populated Fountaingrove area. And way back in 1870, the hilltop neighborhood was torched by wind-driven blazes that also originated in the Calistoga area.
Cavalli, 73, said that was enough to convince him to build a more resilient home. His new house on on Garden View Circle is essentially an above-ground concrete residential bunker designed to be fire-resistant and earthquake proof.
“That’s three fires. I started thinking maybe we got to do something different,” Cavalli said. “It kind of made sense to me. We joke around, going back to the story of the Three Little Pigs.”
Cavalli is among a handful of Fountaingrove residents rebuilding their houses burned in last year’s fierce wildfire using concrete or steel frames rather than wood. The historic fire, the most destructive in California history, torched 5,636 structures, including more than 1,400 of homes in their neighborhood.