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tv   ABC7 News 500PM  ABC  September 14, 2015 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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the community is in relation to the fire. let's get to laura right now to begin. >> well, hi, dan, i'm actually standing high atop cobb mountain. this is what's left of the hoberg resort. just a pile of rubble. a huge pile of rubble. this is emblematic really of what this massive fire has done to this area. it's a fire that is far from finished. while firefighters worked on the ground, this helicopter came in from above. with a big assist high atop cobb mountain. a home that was saved just hours earlier is now gone thanks to the winds of the relentless valley fire. it's called reburn. >> had this is a perfect example.
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we had this house all prepped. there's still a lot of fire out there on the perimeter and it snuck back in and got this house. >> reporter: farther than the eye can see there's devastation here. an event so big that firefighters can't possibly protect every structure but can only react hopefully in time to save at least some among the so many that have been lost here. among the structures damaged the calpine power plant. high atop a hill now abandoned, theringing and the clear sense whoever was here had to leave in a hurry. down highway 175, a weary crew from the u.s. forest service kept a close eye on these flames, letting them burn the brush beneath the trees but only to a point. >> we might be adding a little bit of fire to help keep it low intensity and keeping it nice and square and easy and manageable for us to help the natural surroundings as well as keep the fire very low intensity
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around some of the homes. >> reporter: now, despite improved weather conditions here and a thousand firefighters from all over the state on this fire, they've made very little progress in getting a line around it. that is because they told me they've been focusing on saving life and property. they've done what they can, but clearly this was an event that is overwhelming. in lake county, laura anthony, abc 7 news. >> incredible where you are standing there, laura, thank you. the four fear firts who suffered burns are in good spirits tonight in the hospital. this is firefighter richard reiff on the phone with governor jerry brown earlier today. thumbs up in spite of his brush with death. viewer kelly smith sent us this picture of her son brody. he saw the firefighters on tv. ran up and put on his last year's halloween costume. he wanted to pray for them. more than 8500 people have liked the picture on facebook. >> what a picture that is.
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the valley fire grew quickly in just a few hours at a pace that surprised even veteran wildlife firefighters. evacuations began less than a half hour later. the fire grew to 400 acres by 3:38 p.m. saturday. and within five hours time it had burned 10,000 acres. the size doubled to 25,000 acres by late saturday night. >> we're learning more tonight about the one fatality in the valley fire. she's been identified at 72-year-old barbara mcwilliams of anderson springs. she had multiple sclerosis. her caretaker says when she left her house on saturday afternoon, they were not aware of the fast moving fire. that changed quickly. she called the sheriff's department. >> i knew she was in the house. i knew she was going to be stuck. and i knew that she would have no way of getting out. >> you told the sheriffs that?
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>> i told them that. i was told quite bluntly that they were busy handling evacuees and they would get to her when they could. >> they say they responded to that call within 17 minutes. all of the schools in lake county will be closed again tomorrow, kindergarten through 12th grade. in the hidden valley area dozens of homes, maybe more have been lost. sergio kitana is live there tonight. >> i talked to a private team. they are counting about 60 homes so far, but that is all within that gated community. it does not include homes like this one and there are lots of them like this one miraculously there are lots of animals that survived on this property. some of them today were taken to shelters by volunteers with the sheriff's department. they survived, their owner's house didn't.
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she's upbeat because of a tweet i sent out this weekend. >> because of you, guys, thank you so much, i found out that they're being fed and watered. that was my main worry. >> reporter: when the fire came, all she had time to do was gather her house pets and run. >> the reason i left them is because the lot is dirt. and the goats they eat everything. >> reporter: she had been taking care of three of her friends' horses. they were moved here after the rocky fire. >> because we lost all of our tack and means and stuff to feed them. so we relocated them over here. then we had the fire here. >> reporter: this team with the lake county sheriff's department has been checking in on evacuated properties to help animals that survived. volunteers have agreed to take them in. we helped gather three horses that will be moving from this property. the goats and donkeys will stay. but separating the group isn't easy. >> it's taken us 20 minutes to get the horses together. you can imagine how much more difficult it is when there's a fire. >> reporter: only animal owners with trailers are able to get
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in. there are a lot of truck obsewn who are coming in and volunteering to help. jessica tells me she does not have a truck so she can't her animals that remain here on this property. she says when she is able to come in, though there's nothing left here, she plans on actually pitching a tent to stay with her animals, then rebuild her home. reporting live in hidden valley lake, abc 7 news. many of the thousands of evacuees quickly left their middletown homes in lake county to get away from that fast moving valley fire. one look at the aftermath and you can see just how random fire can burn. some businesses along highway 29 in the heart of middletown are still intact. but one block over dozens of empty lots filled with ash where homes used to stand. >> everybody is anxious to learn what the fate of their homes and property are. we're very, very well aware of that. we have firefighters who live here and their homes have been
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impacted also. >> evacuation orders are still in lace. cal fire says it could be a few more days before residents are allowed back. it's still very unsafe. dangling power lines and debris everywhere. showers fell in the north bay this afternoon. that gave firefighters a little bit of help. a photographer was driving northbound on highway 175 and the windshield wipers were on. sandhya patel has the weather for us. >> it's a double-edged sword. while the humidity is coming up, the winds are coming up. a difficult thing for firefighters. we do have a few spotty showers around the bay area, right around the antioch area heading towards rio vista and up in the north bay we are seeing a few drops, although we've seen a little more earlier. valley fire current conditions, 59 degrees. it is getting cooler.
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the relative humidity has come up, 83%, but the winds have also increased out of the southwest gusting to 18 miles per hour. the past hour they've been seeing some drops across the region. that will continue as we look at the next 24 hours. winds will remain gusty at least through 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, then by noon they should drop off a little bit and then increase again. i'll be back to take a look at a greater possibility of some widespread rain for the bay area and how that will play into helping those firefighters later on this week. i'll be back. dan? >> that would be great, sandhya. thanks very much. entire families had to run for their lives while their homes burned in the valley fire and some are staying at the napa county fairgrounds tonight in the city of calistoga. it's become a tent city, literally. lyanne melendez joins us live with the story. >> reporter: dan, at 2:30 this afternoon displaced residents
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received an update from cal fire officials and even though it's drizzling, the news was not good. according to cal fire, the fire was more active today than yesterday. adele nasta of sacramento drove here to find her estranged husband. he's not been found. their stories heartbreaking. >> noplace to go. everybody we know, they got wiped out, too. so that's all. >> reporter: his son-in-law took these pictures as the flames were coming towards them. >> up by the hill. it just come right on down. >> reporter: how fast was it? >> we barely got out. and we were watching it. >> reporter: david leery was fortunate. he used his tractor and his skills to cut a huge fire break around his property. >> every house was on fire except mine and the two i saved. on the way out of town. >> reporter: here at the napa county fairgrounds in calistoga, there was plenty of food and support.
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>> what red cross could use right now is financial donations. we know we have a lot of impacted people. people who lost their houses. red cross is going to be here. we're going to stay here and work with those folks throughout the recovery process. >> reporter: horse owners received help with their animals who are starting to feel the stress of the past days. >> just stressed, you know, having to move and being tied to a trailer, not being able to run around. >> reporter: meanwhile, this place they reluctantly call home away from home has a place to sleep, showers, more than enough food and even charging stations to keep connected. >> i'd like to get out of here tomorrow. i'd be out of here and home today if they'd let me. >> reporter: and you see behind me people coming here to donate goods. even though they have been told that they have enough. we have enough is what the sign reads outside. it looks really more like a flea market with clothes for people and goods to make their stay here a little bit easier. i'm live in calistoga.
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lyanne melendez, abc 7 news. chased from their homes with very little to live on. >> i'm depending on friends that are willing to help us. >> some people step in to donate, others are trying to take advantage of people already vulnerable. that story's next. and a sign meant to designate a home now becomes a signature moem for the valley fire. and you'll see the incredible images that are saving lives. flames getting close, you need the leave. what you need to do before a disaster strikes. michael finney has some answers.
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santa clara, san francisco, east bay and all the bay area. in is abc 7 news. the fires continue to grow in other parts of california including one in the sierra foothill. vacation homes, for example, and the palo alto fire department
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tweeted out this picture of the butte fire. you can see them in action with other firefighters from the county. firefighters are not immune from the destructive force of california's wildfires. the cal fire said eight firefighters recently lost their homes while trying to save those of strangers. this image taken by nasa shows the size of california's biggest wildfire. the rough fire as seen from space. it is burning more than 138,000 acres since a lightning strike sparked it on july 31st. this car was damaged just by being parked miles from the front lines. a small engine part in a tanker plane landed on it from the fresno yosemite airport. the tanker landed safely. the rough fire continues to grow. it is at this point 40% contained. cal fire says the valley fire will not be contained for a while. that means that people who had to evacuate can't go check on their homes to see if they're still standing. they're worried about looters. the fire started in the town of
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cobb on saturday. the command post is in lakeport. >> reporter: carol one of the questions we hear most often is have you heard. people are anxious for any word if their house is still standing. there's concern about looting. only fire crews, pg&e are allowed in because they have to do the dangerous work of getting telephone poles off the roadways and those power lines off the roadways. we got stopped by chp several times having to show our press credentials because in the past people have posed as reporters to get in and loot. >> it looked like hell was coming above. >> reporter: the valley fire raced across lake county from cobb to middletown. >> by the time we got to our house, the fire was already across. we had seconds. >> reporter: she said to beat the fire to young street saturday where her 16-year-old daughter was home alone.
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>> so we didn't know we were allowed to go and i couldn't leave at all because my mom was coming for me. >> there was no chance for any personal belongings, nothing. my house was in fire already. it was hot to even get in there. >> reporter: now, kept out of the evacuation zone, people worry about looters. >> do they not think we're going through enough now that they're going through our properties to take whatever's left over? that is not okay. >> reporter: the lake county sheriff's office says there have been no confirmed reports of that happening so far. >> that is just a rumor. we have no reports of looting. we have law enforcement out there. >> reporter: someoneent eva a picture of her property. she knows the home is gone. others are still trying to get into the evacuation zone to find out. with power poles burning and dropping lines, it's too dangerous for people to enter. >> it will become another hazard for us. either they get hurt or it's so emotional for them we have to bring guys off the fire line to
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attend to them medically. we have to keep everyone out and keep them safe. >> reporter: volunteers work to keep evacuees fed and clothed for what could be a week or more. >> we're grateful. >> reporter: and grateful for what matters most. >> my family's a lot more to me than anything else. because i can never get them back. >> reporter: pg&e is working around the clock to clear those power lines. however, the company does not have an estimate for when that work will be done. we want the thank our viewers for sending in pictures on social media. so many images. >> they're amazing. drew tuma is look at that part of the story. >> so many pictures posted to social media using the #abc 7. this blogger posted this picture. her husband is a firefighter in lake county. they took this picture saturday night, and it's really become the iconic photo of this fire. you do notice the flames taking that entire middletown sign.
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and this is the first picture many of us saw to really understand the scope of this fire. abc 7 reporter cornell barnard also in the fire. he tweeted this out. this is all that's left of a home in middletown. all you see is the wrought iron fence that says, this is where i belong. and this is how the homeowner found out that his home was gone. we want to let you know how appreciative we are of your posts. for some of the people affected by this fire this photo is all they have. #abc 7now. during disasters we are often reminded of the things that we should do to prepare and get ready just in case. >> some important tips. >> one of the most important things any of us can do is to make a list of everything we own. now, there are several apps out there fortunately that make that a pretty easy task. robin andress has worked for the nonprofit united policy holders,
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but even she hasn't taken time to list her belongings. >> we're not inventoried, and so actually i'm a little concerned about if we did have a fire. i've lived in my house for years. a lot of things are collectors, one of a kind, very unique. >> reporter: at our request, robin tried out a free app made available by united policy holders. she likes it. >> it's very easy to use. it takes you through the steps. >> reporter: you simply select which room you're in, take pictures of items, make notes and hit save. it's then stored in the cloud. amy bach is the executive director of united policy holders. >> so, if god forbid, you have a loss, you have this record, then that's one less thing you have to worry about. >> reporter: remember, the app is free. if you go to, i'll show you where to go to download it. keep records safe, but not in
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your home. coming up at 6:00, i'll talk about insurance and what fire victims should expect from their insurance companies when fire takes everything. >> good information, michael. thank you. one thing that will help on the fire lines are changing weather conditions. we're seeing shifts tonight. >> a little moisture helps a lot. >> sandhya patel joins us now. >> it is nice to see the moisture. behind me overcast skies. i am noticing that the ground is wet and the breeze has picked up. let me show you live doppler 7 hd. there is promise of more widespread rain on wednesday. so far it has been very spotty around the bay area. we've been seeing some drizzle or light showers, and as far as rainfall totals, santa rosa, watsonville, 0.01 inches. you look at the radar returns down south of monterey and they're getting some pretty good returns down there. smoke has reduced visibility in santa rosa.
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right now six miles. that's from the valley fire. half moon bay reporting two-mile visibility due to the fog. the wind gusting close to 30 miles per hour at sfo, fairfield. not only a damp evening commute, you're going to have to deal with the wind as well. here's a live picture from our emeryville picture. low 60s for san francisco. 59 in half moon bay. well below average 60s at the coast to mid and upper 70s inland. we're showing you quite a bit of cloud cover. hang on to the umbrellas if i were you. 76 currently in livermore. and the golden gate bridge dealing with some damp roadways. there have been some drops there. obviously murky as well. spotty showers and drizzle tonight, breezy and below normal again tomorrow. more rain is due in here on wednesday. let's take a look at the satellite radar and i'll show you what's bringing us those showers right now. an area of low pressure. cold front is coming in.
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very spotty with system number one. system number two will bring the north bay rain and a pretty good possibility that the rest of the bay area will get some wet weather. let's take a look at computer animation, 5:00 a.m. wednesday going to 11:00 a.m., the north bay starts to see rough weather. it is raining there, and at 6:00 p.m. it barely starts to budge towards the central bay. 1:00 al thursday looking at some spotty showers even in the south bay. then as far as rainfall totals we're looking at anywhere from about 0.1 to half an inch in the north bay. other areas traced to a tenth of an inch of rain. tomorrow there will be fog around. so do be careful. allow a little extra time. mid-50s to low 60s tomorrow afternoon. you're looking at high temperatures that are not exactly september had been like. 70 in oakland, vallejo, 69, 66, san francisco, half moon bay, 63 degrees. it will be a breezy and cool
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afternoon as you look at the accuweather seven-day forecast with some more wet weather on wednesday remaining cooler than average, then we'll warm it up and we head towards the end of the work week and into the weekend. but what we really need to see is more of this for those firefighters up at the valley fire. dan, cheryl? >> a lot more of that will be great for many reasons. thanks very much. >> still ahead, the dancing baby and the court ruling tha
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this fire drove 23 people from their homes in hayward. cell phone video captured the pictures moments after it broke out. investigators believe it started in the attic just after 11:30 this morning thap they're looking for what caused the fire. nobody was hurt. everybody got out. it took crews about a half hour to put out the flames. a judge declared a mistrial for one of the teens in the murder of an off-duty paramedic while a jury found the other
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teen guilty. during an attempted car jacking in april back in 2013. he was a paramedic in santa clara county. the convicted 17-year-old could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. now, the jury split on the second teen who could be retried now. now, if you like youtube, a federal court ruling today may be of big interest to you. ♪ a mother posted this video of her child dancing to a prince song "let's go crazy." the company sued claiming it was copyright infringement. the court believes regular people should be given the benefit of the doubt when posting videos. still ahead, thousands are in need tonight because of the valley fire. coming up next on abc 7 news at 5:00, how some people are
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coming up on abc 7 at 6:00, the devastating valley fire. we're live with team coverage from napa and lake counties. and abc 7 reporter laura anthony adds a personal element to our coverage. she knows all too well what it's like to be a fire victim. also, we talk to an expert who says the fires aren't necessarily the result of the drought, but our fault instead. plus seven on your side's michael finney talks about
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people looking to file insurance claims. that's coming up at 6:00. >> see you then. you heard this saul over napa and so moem na counties banding together to accept donations for the fire victims. >> there's a place in san francisco for people to drop off goods. the dessert bar is collecting nonperishable food. >> there other locations in petaluma and kitteny are taking locations. >> he opened his store to give free coffee. he says it's the least he can do. very nice gesture. >> the red cross says financial donations are the quickest way and the best way to get help to the people who need it the most. >> you can visit for more information on how you can give where you live. or text the word "red cross" to 90999. that simple. >> that easy. >> for all of us here we appreciate your time.
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tonight, the breaking news. the state of emergency. the deadly wildfire right here in california. several unaccounted for tonight. hundreds of homes destroyed. as the fire sweeps in, each home igniting the next. families trapped in flames as they try to evacuate. tonight, we take you inside the fire zone, what's left of their community. the stunning images coming up. also at this hour, the manhunt right now under way. the campus lockdown. the students with hands behind their heads. a popular professor shot and killed at an american university. back to work. the defiant county clerk returns as couples show up to get their marriage licenses. the scene that played out today. were they issued? the miss america pageant, the apology 30 years in the making. and made in america is back tonight. wd-40. the secret recipe made right


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