She was having Sunday dinner with her parents, John and Ardys Jones, at their house in Santa Rosa when they got the order to evacuate, Newnom said.
They were playing board games and cards when “all their phones went off at the exact same time,” he said.
“They looked outside and they could actually see the glow,” Newnom said.
CalFire said Tuesday the Glass Fire was 0% contained and has destroyed 80 homes and dozens of minor structures.
Newnom said his normal 48-hour shift was extended to help out because so many firefighters are battling the wildfires raging in Northern California.
He had his firefighting gear in his car, so he drove straight to her parents’ house, which was about 1.5 hours away.
When he got there, Newnom started moving the woodpile, debris and other flammable materials away from the house and used his chainsaw to cut down trees that could threaten the home.
“I wasn’t planning on sticking around and facing the front of the fire by myself,” Newnom said.
He was about to leave when a Santa Rosa Fire truck arrived on the scene.
Newnom said the house has a large driveway, making it one of the last places on the road with enough space for a firetruck could turn around if the firefighters needed to escape in a hurry.
The fire captain told him “if this is your girlfriend’s family home then then this is where we’re gonna stand and fight.”
The firefighters set out their hoses and started fighting back the fire, which crept to within a few feet of the home.
Newnom said the house should be safe now that the fire has burned through.
“The house is on an island of burnt moonscape,” he said.
Many homes in the area were not as lucky. Newnom saw a number of burning structures near the house.
Correction: This story has been updated with the correct spelling of Elise Jones’ first name.
CNN’s Stella Chan contributed to this story.