CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Shawn Matteoli has lived in Charlotte for several years, but he spent the majority of his life in Santa Rosa, California.
The last two days have been tough for him as wildfire burns through his hometown. He said he found out about the fires Monday morning.
"I was notified by my oldest daughter via text message yesterday morning around seven o'clock," said Matteoli.
She told him the neighborhoods where his mother and father lived had caught fire. He started searching the web for more information.
He would spend the day on pins and needles as he waited to hear whether or not his relatives were OK.
"It was just a whole day of just like biting your nails and waiting for good, bad, or indifferent news, and it was heart-wrenching," said Matteoli.
The Santo Rosa native said he got word around 1 p.m. Monday that his mother's home had been destroyed by the fire. The only thing left standing at the home was a statue of Saint Joseph.
Luckily, none of his relatives were injured in the fires.
"It was a very deep relief and then the other sadness comes over to the fact that realizing the things that were lost," explained Matteoli.
He said his son, Niko Matteoli, is currently a firefighter in the Santa Rosa area and has been injured battling fires before. He said he was relieved to learn his son wasn't in the middle of the fires this time.
The elder Matteoli said his mother is staying with family members right now. He hopes to go visit his relatives when the fires are under control and it is safe to return to Santa Rosa.
"I just want people to be aware if anything that these disasters are happening and we need to try to be prepared for it and not take life for granted."