The morning sun had risen nearly to the top of three burned trees when Samuel Garcia began framing the wall for a new home in Coffey Park.
The mustachioed Garcia, wearing a soft-brimmed hat and suspenders that held up his carpenter tool belt, methodically lined up 2-by-6 boards atop a covered subfloor. At each joint, his nail gun fired three times. When he needed leverage drawing two boards tightly together, he partially sank a nail in one and then grabbed it with a cat’s paw, a small bar with a V-shaped cleft used for prying nailheads.
After less than 20 minutes, the middle-aged framer and two younger coworkers raised the first wall into place at the building site on Nina Court.
Two more workers joined in, helping lift the frame and secure it in place.
The time was 7:19 a.m. Already the dull hum of cars on the distant Highway 101 freeway was giving way to the buzz of saws and the rumbling of construction vehicles on nearby streets and lots.
The course of a summer’s day in Coffey Park offers hundreds of scenes of workers in all stages of rebuilding homes burned in last fall’s wildfires. Meanwhile, in the same neighborhood, often on the same streets, utility workers dig trenches and place conduit pipes for a new underground system of natural gas, electric and communication lines.
The neighborhood’s rebuild involves construction crews from general contractors both large and small working next door to each other. Those building multiple homes often find their projects separated by several blocks.
“It looks like the most unorganized subdivision I’ve ever built,” said Aaron Matz, president of APM Homes of Santa Rosa.
Matz, whose grandfather, Art Condiotti, built several hundred homes in the neighborhood three decades ago, is on track to rebuild about 50 homes for Coffey Park fire survivors. That work comes first, he said, but the company also has purchased about 16 of the burned lots put up for sale after the fires.
The October wildfires claimed 24 lives and burned nearly 5,300 homes in Sonoma County, including more than 1,200 homes around Coffey Park.
Nearly nine months later, the neighborhood is bustling with activity, with some 220 homes in construction.
Resident Scott Saucedo noted the progress Tuesday morning while visiting his own house construction project on Dogwood Drive.
“I stood here and I could count 32 homes,” said Saucedo, an eight-year resident of Coffey Park. “And two months ago there was two.”
Saucedo’s future home also received a visit Tuesday from city building inspector Jeremiah Parizon, who’s among a large contingent of building professionals brought in on a contract basis as part of the city’s rebuilding efforts.
Parizon strode around the house exterior, checking on the nailing pattern of the shear walls, composed of a widely used wooden panel known as “OSB,” or oriented strand board. The inspector later examined the sheeting on the roof, climbing onto a ladder with Ronnie Duvall, a project superintendent for the Windsor-based builder Gallaher Homes.
Duvall, known to many Coffey Park fire survivors for his volunteer role organizing Christmastime festivities in the neighborhood, said Gallaher has 11 homes in various stages of framing and another 18 with foundations ready or under preparation.
Read more about the recovery from the October wildfires: nbbj.news/recovery