Sheri Resnick Trimboli with her children, Jonny and Anna
Sheri Resnick Trimboli with her children, Jonny and Anna

One Chico family’s tale of home and history lost to fire

Sheri Resnick Trimboli peeked out the window of her canyon home in Chico on Nov. 8, saw thick smoke tinted red and orange up on the mountain, grabbed the pets and fled with her daughter. Minutes later, fire roared down the canyon through Paradise, incinerating everything in its path, including the Trimboli home.

There is nothing left.

Trimboli, who runs a Chico business with her husband, Larry, says she is trying to remain strong for her customers in the wake of the deadly Camp Fire, which is still burning.

But when she thinks of the family heirlooms lost in the fire — photos from the Old Country, Judaica, china — she weeps.

“All of my mother’s stuff from her mother,” she says through her tears. “The pictures of my grandparents and their parents. My grandfather came from Romania, my grandmother’s family from Ukraine.”

A streak of light appears in the smoke-filled sky over Chico. (Photo/Courtesy Chico Hillel)
A streak of light appears in the smoke-filled sky over Chico. (Photo/Courtesy Chico Hillel)

The Los Angeles native and Chico State University graduate recognizes she is relatively well off compared to other fire victims. She and her husband still have a thriving business (where they have been camping out). Ironically, their company, Sierra Log and Timber, designs and builds log cabin homes.

She describes herself as “a high-end homeless person.”

But several of her neighbors were among the fire’s 48 confirmed dead, and other survivors she knows were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Trimboli is a longtime member and former board member of Chico’s Congregation Beth Israel, a small independent synagogue with roots stretching back more than 100 years. Shortly after it was clear that the family would not be returning to their home, Trimboli received a visit from the synagogue’s sisterhood.

“Four women came here,” she says. “They brought some nice clothes for me. I was so grateful. They brought me food; they brought me smiles. The rabbi came to visit.”

For now, the family is hunkering down at the business. Trimboli says she and her husband probably will not rebuild on their property, but they are committed to staying in the Chico area. “Our business is 26 years old,” she adds. “This is our life.”

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.