One of the amazing survival stories from the wildfires that raged across Northern California involves the historic Triple S Ranch Napa and neighboring properties in Calistoga. Surrounded by fire on all sides, the ranch was saved due to a 10-hour battle waged by owner Derek Webb and a handful of courageous employees and neighbors.
Webb saw the firestorm coming up the mountain from Franz Valley shortly after 10 p.m. on Oct. 8. Nine people used tractors, rakes, shovels, and wet blankets, and rigged up their own fire truck using water from the pool to keep the fires at bay. Since the roads were blocked, everyone’s ultimate escape route was the swimming pool, which fortunately was a plan never used.
Triple S Ranch is one of the oldest resorts in Napa Valley and has a colorful history as both a working ranch and a resort and restaurant. The property has been restored by Webb over the past five years and has a grand Victorian built in the 1860s, a large redwood dairy barn/restaurant, gym, pool, hot tub, cabins and several acres of walnut trees. “There are no winners in fire,” Webb says. “Though SSS Ranch was saved, many of my neighbors lost everything. I still cry when I drive down the street and see all of the complete destruction. I realize how close we came to losing everything.”