October 8, 2017 sparked the Tubbs Fire: the most destructive California wildfire at that time. Entire communities were burned to the ground, and scores of people lost their lives.
It was also the evening Armando and Carmen Berriz, Cuban immigrants, stayed at a friend's house in the Santa Rosa hills of northern California. While they slept, the Tubbs Fire advanced toward them. Armando and Carmen, in a frantic attempt to escape the flames, would spend seven hours sheltering in a swimming pool while the mountain burned around them.
Armando and Carmen's story begins in Havana, Cuba in the spring of 1954 when Armando Berriz, thirteen and Carmen Caldentey, twelve, first meet and fall in love. Their relationship is plagued by family opposition and political upheaval, which finally leads them to leave their home country for a new life in California.
This is the story of a couple's search for freedom and a daughter's search for independence and peace. The Tubbs Fire may be the most dramatic element of the narrative, but it is neither the beginning nor the end of the Berriz family story.