Watch CBS News

California Illustrator Creates Comic Strip To Process Losing His Home To Wildfire

SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) -- Many people are trying to figure out how to cope with losing their homes and loved ones, and one Santa Rosa man is putting pen to paper.

Graphic novelist Brian Fies wrote and illustrated 'On Monday, My House Disappeared.'

His personal fire journey starts with the middle-of-the-night evacuation.

The graphic novelist and his wife, Karen, are now staying with their daughters in Novato. The couple packed photos, papers and pets in the 15 minutes they had to escape their Santa Rosa home.

Later, Fies snuck back to their gutted neighborhood.

"The only things I saw standing were the steel frames of garage doors and fireplaces and chimneys. That's all I saw left," Fies said.

He captured these scenes on the way home where only a refrigerator was standing.

He phoned Karen, who as Sonoma County Human Services director was helping others evacuate.

"I got to our house, called my wife, and said, 'I'm here, and it's gone.' She said, 'All right, be careful and come on back.' She was just working. She's since said the work she had to do kept her mind focused on other things," Fies said.

And what helped him process the loss was putting it all on paper.

"It's cathartic. It gives me a sense of control over something I don't have any control over," Fies said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.