Baseball legend Barry Bonds was among other legendary athletes who fled the chaos on Monday morning caused by the wine country fires in Northern California.
Multiple sportsmen escaped the fires raging in California after attending Ronnie Lott’s celebrity-filled fundraiser at Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa.
Bonds reportedly helped the fundraiser’s guests to catch rides and flee the scene, while Eric Gagne, a onetime Dodgers closers, pulled the alarm at a hotel where the stars were gathering, ensuring no one was left behind, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“When he walked out of his bungalow, the flames were right there, so he bounced out of there, and because so many people didn’t have cars, he was taking them all to the next hotel,” said Eric Byrnes, a friend of Bonds who spoke him on Monday, the Chronicle reported
“He made multiple trips. He got evacuated again from that next hotel, but Barry was anticipating it, he said, ‘I know the fire is coming down here.’ It sounded really chaotic.”
Retired Kansas City pitcher Bret Saberhagen, meanwhile, was forced to leave his golf clubs in the blaze to make space for Olympic speedskater Dan Jansen and his wife in his vehicle.
“It was a crazy, surreal night,” Saberhagen told the Chronicle. “I was out on the balcony at Mayacama when the power went out and sat down, and saw the moon come up. It was very nice. And then I saw the moon turn orange and it started getting lighter and lighter. I saw the fire coming over the ridge and I could hear propane and gas tanks popping.”
Saberhagen quickly alerted other athletes about the fire, before being told to vacate the premises due to the fires. He then ran to another hotel only to find Gagne knocking on the door to warn everyone of the incoming blaze.
“Eric [Gagne] was yelling, ‘Get up, get up,’ knocking at every door, and when I opened the door, smoke billowed in and I could see areas on fire,” the retired Kansas City pitcher told the Chronicle. “There was a telephone pole on fire, the grounds were on fire, ashes were flying all over the place, and what really scared me was that there was a gas station across the street.”
According to Saberhagen, UFC fighter Hendry Cejudo didn’t evacuate from a hotel in time and broke his ankle as he had to jump out of a second-story balcony.