Remembering enormous brush fire that destroyed homes in Golden Gate Estate in 2020

Published: May 11, 2021 11:04 PM EDT
Updated: May 11, 2021 11:35 PM EDT

Community members who experienced an enormous brush fire that destroyed their belongings are remembering what they went through almost one year later.

A nearly 9,000-acre brush fire in Golden Gate Estates destroyed more than a dozen homes in May 2020. On top of that, people were dealing with the pandemic and lots of uncertainty.

Since then, some have rebuilt homes. Others have moved out of town.

Many trees are still charred from the fire neighbors will never forget.

“They thought they weren’t going to make it,” said Fire Marshal Corey Adamski with Naples Fire-Rescue.

Adamski remembers saving an elderly couple who called 911 from their burning home in May 2020.

It’s one of Adamski’s proudest moments of his career.

“Just lucky enough and fortunate enough to get there on time and get the couple out of the house,” Adamski said.

“I was at work, and from the hospital, you could see the smoke in the sky,” Jannia Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was forced to evacuate.

“It happened all during COVID, and we were wondering, ‘How could we gather?’’ Rodriguez said.

Animals died, cars, belongings and buildings destroyed, as around 250 firefighters in Collier County battled the flames.

“I tried to go home, but I didn’t know if I had one,” Adrran Feria said.

Blue tarps remain on many homes being rebuilt from the damage. Although some families have moved away, others say the fire brought the community closer.

“Afterwards we started calling and texting, ‘Hey, did you make it out? Are you OK?” Rodriguez said.