Former Edmonton Oilers goalie Grant Fuhr escapes wildfires in California wine country

 

 
 
 
 
Grant Fuhr waves to fans at Skyreach Centre Oct. 9, 2003, during a ceremony commemorating his years as goalie with the Edmonton Oilers.
 

Grant Fuhr waves to fans at Skyreach Centre Oct. 9, 2003, during a ceremony commemorating his years as goalie with the Edmonton Oilers.

Photograph by: Chris Schwarz, Edmonton Journal

Former Edmonton Oilers goalie Grant Fuhr and wife, Lisa, were caught in the wildfires in the Napa-Sonoma California wine area Monday and had to scramble to safety.

The fires, which burned more than 8,000 hectares in about 12 hours just on Monday, were closing in on the famous Vintner’s Inn in the city of Santa Rosa where Fuhr was staying as he got ready to play in a celebrity charity golf tournament at the nearby Mayacama Golf Club.

“I was sound asleep and had no idea what was going on, then we get this phone call telling us, ‘Hey, time to go … there’s a fire.’ There was no power, we were in the dark in the room,” said Fuhr, who hustled down to the lobby and saw the flames.

“Looked out the front door and thought ‘It doesn’t look that bad,’ then I looked out the back and it was all orange,” said Fuhr. “When we left, the fire was about 1,000 yards (914 metres) from the hotel. It was close enough that the ash looked like a snowstorm.”

The couple had no way to leave the hotel.

“No cabs were coming, no Uber … It was a little unnerving. I could hear the trees popping, so you know it’s close,” Fuhr said.

“Fortunately, this guy drives by and we yell, ‘You got room for my wife and I and (former NFL receiver) Sterling Sharpe?’ He says, ‘Yeah, get in,’ and he drives us to San Francisco. It’s normally an hour and 20 minutes, but it took us five hours because we had to drive around the fires.”

The couple flew from there to their home in Palm Desert, Calif.

Fuhr’s clubs were at the golf course, and he has no idea if they survived. 

“I might have a back-up set,” said the unflappable Fuhr, who never let much bother him as a player.

The tournament celebrities also included former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter and NFL great Ronnie Lott.

 
 
 
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Grant Fuhr waves to fans at Skyreach Centre Oct. 9, 2003, during a ceremony commemorating his years as goalie with the Edmonton Oilers.
 

Grant Fuhr waves to fans at Skyreach Centre Oct. 9, 2003, during a ceremony commemorating his years as goalie with the Edmonton Oilers.

Photograph by: Chris Schwarz, Edmonton Journal

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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