tv KPIX 5 News at 5PM CBS October 9, 2017 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT
that has been on fire and burning for well over 12 hours. pg&e crews working out on mendocino avenue have just now been able to get that gas turned off. the big condition was right next to it was a huge propane tank. now -- concern was right next to it was a huge propane tank. now throughout the area here and wine country the flames have been burning out of control. more than 73,000 acres have burned. at least 1,500 structures have been destroyed. those are homes and outbuildings and at least 100 mobile homes here in this park. 20,000 people have been evacuated. the sonoma county sheriff is now telling us there are at least 10 confirmed deaths, seven in sonoma county, two in napa county and one in mendocino county. directly behind my camera on the hill is where the santa rosa hilton hotel sits, what's left of it. right now it's just flames and
it's a shell of what's left and what's left, it's all on fire destroyed. hotel guests were forced to evacuate earlier. most left their belongings behind. our colleague len ramirez talked to one of the evacuees who got out barefoot and ran for their lives and i'm not saying that light heartedly. they ran and got out just in time. they of are everything that's now being consumed by the -- they left everything that's now being consumed by flames. >> most of these fires have limited or no containment. these are very rapidly burning fires. almost the entire effort last night and early this morning was focused on evacuations and moving citizens out of harm's way. >> reporter: now besides homes and neighborhoods that have been evacuated, two hospitals had to be evacuated, 130 patients moved out of kaiser permanente santa rosa medical center which is directly behind me here. sutter santa rosa regional
hospital also evacuated 80 of its patients and adding to the chaos we're told more than 100 people injured in the fires. now kpix5 reporter wilson walker got out here to the fire lines just about midnight. here's what he saw in those early morning hours. ounded by flames on both sides. kpix five's wilson walker shows us what it was like. say they're >> reporter: so i've been trying to explain to you guys what the roadways are like if you're trying to make your way around napa and sonoma county. well, this is it. this is what driving around is like right now. truth be told, i think everyone up here has sort of been making it up as they go along sort of poking around trying to figure out where it's safe, where it's not safe, where someone might be telling you to go and sometimes you frankly have no choice but to stand around and watch the fire do what it's going to do, hope it moves along and then you can try to get moving down the highway. so incredibly dangerous driving conditions here, still very dark, very smoky, still fire along many of these roadways. >> reporter: that's wilson
walker who got out here shortly after midnight and he is still here working on another story for us coming up at 6:00. now in santa rosa firefighters certainly, they're all doing what they can, but we have seen fire after fire after fire just get started and burn out of control. one person told me that what was so disconcerting is that you look to the left and there's a fire burning there. you go to evacuate escape on the right, there's another fire burning there. look behind you and there's another fire burning there. the winds were so strong and erratic they didn't know which way to go. firefighters were doing what they could and they were trying to direct people in the safest route possible, but even they were a bit overwhelmed by all this that's been going on. now the priority, of course, was saving lives, not the property, as is evidenced behind me. here in journey zen mobile home park they were able to save everyone, no one injured. no one died here, but the
residents told me that they were watching the fire off to the east up in the hills and they watched it and watched it and watched it as it started to come down the hill and all of a sudden the santa rosa hilton started on fire. then they were told you better get out and the fire hit another fountain grove inn which is now destroyed along with the hilton and then it jumped the street and it caught the bushes on fire right on the edge of this mobile home park. you know, if you've ever seen a mobile home park, you know that the houses are just so tightly packed in here. they're so close and they do tend to go up in flames very, very quickly. certainly the dry weather hasn't helped us, the strong winds last night pushing flames and embers for miles. i woke up in the middle of the night and i live in the northern part of marin county and i thought i could smell smoke, but i wasn't really sure. when i got up this morning even in northern marin county, i walked out and ash was raining down like snow and it was on
the deck as well. of course, as we've been saying, fires have ripped through neighborhood after neighborhood, neighborhood after neighborhood. dozens of homes in the coffee park neighborhood of santa rosa are now gone. that is completely devastated. kpix5's jackie ward has spent much of the day there. he complete de >> reporter: what a day it's been here because a lot of people have been walking around to check to see if their friends' homes are still standing. that's because this area is really hit or miss. as you can tell, right here this house is totally fine, unscathed, but houses across the street there there's no problem at all, not even any ash or soot in their driveways, but then you come to the corner here of san miguel avenue and you see there are homes that have been completely lost, shells of homes remaining here, garages, doors completely melted. it's unbelievable. we'll toss back to you. >> it was marching towards santa rosa, so we realized early on with the wind that we
were battling on our own fires that this fire was going to come into santa rosa. so what we did, we did what we could. we ordered up mutual aid early. we established unified command with cal fire and we set up our staging area and it became the parking lot in the city of santa rosa and it didn't take long before we realized that was not a good spot. so we moved about an hour later to our fire station 3. at that time we had three immediate need strike times. we had 25 other strike teams inbound and it was all we could do to, you know, put engines in the right place. we had every resource in the county. we recalled every firefighter in the city of santa rosa and we used every resource to the
best of our ability, but with that kind of wind and fire, i'm not sure when it started, but for us it blew into santa rosa right around midnight, a little bit earlier and by morning time the fire was about 25 to 30,000 acres. so it came in hard. it was very, very windy, very dry wind and it was very taxing for the entire city. so with that i'm going to turn it over to cal fire's incident commander, brett govan. he's going on talk about what they're going to do. so thank you. >> good evening, incident commander from cal fire incident management team 1. incident management team 1 was activated approximately 1 a.m. to come down and support the incidents in sonoma and napa county through the night. ultimately this morning we were
assigned the responsibility of command in conjunction with unified command with santa rosa county fire and correction, santa rosa city fire and chief gosner in a unified effort to command the incident. the current situation as the chief pointed out is 25 to 30,000 acres, 0% contained. the fire has done a good amount of magnitude of damage and we are still working with putting our damage a he isment teams -- assessment teams together and getting them out to accurately document the amount of damage that we have. we've had a great cooperative effort throughout the night from local fire agencies in sonoma county as well as local law enforcement agencies. also continuing effort from the master mutual aid system from the local, state and federal fire departments up and down the state of california.
cal fire would like to urge you and the public to help us with any new fire starts to insure that we don't get any. as you can see, conditions are severe up and down the state and resources have spread thin with the massive amount of fires that we have up and down the state. thank you. >> evening. i'm rob jordano from the sheriff's office in sonoma county. we've had deputies up on mark west when the fire went through. we had deputies pinned down with civilians. they couldn't get out and the fire went around them. what i really want to get out to the public is please stay off the roads. please stay off the evacuated areas. we will be making arrests if
there are looters. we're already starting to see that problem, so we will enforce the law. stay out of the burn areas. stay out of the evacuated areas. bear with us, a lot of highly trained good first responders working to keep us safe, but we're actively trying to rescue people right now. that's the stage we're in. we have seven confirmed deaths related to this fire so far. that number is going to change. it's just too early. we can't even get into a lot of the spots. so i don't expect that to stay that way very long. are there any questions that i can answer? [ can't hear question ] >> we're not letting anybody into the burn areas. we're going to keep everybody out of the controlled areas because we're trying to keep everybody safe. >> reporter: in what area did you find the fatalities? >> i actually don't know. >> reporter: are you evacuating people now and where? >> when i left -- >> you've been watching a live news conference going on in the
santa rosa area right now. that is the spokesperson for the sheriff's department who says his numbers confirm seven fatalities. our numbers are a little bit different. we got numbers from the sonoma county sheriff's department and the chp that 10 people lost their lives. a lot of that is due to just information that gets filtered down and we'll get to the bottom of what the exact numbers are. we want to go back to the news conference now, okay. let's go back. >> last night we started answering calls for service on the east side of the county near the highway 12 area and we've continued to do so through the morning hours. we brought in extra personnel from all over the bay area to help assist with road closures and calls for service and evacuations and medical aid and all the various things you can think of, our aircraft to view things from the sky and get a better perspective. it's been difficult for
everybody and our allied agency partners and both fire and police have been outstanding and i can't thank them enough. they're true professionals and we're trying to do everything we can to keep the roads safe for everybody, but as the sheriff mentioned, please, if you don't have to be out on the roads, don't be out on the roads. it will take a while for things to subside and for the roads to become safe again. the closures are minimal at this point, but for a while, a long time there, we had the major arteries 101 and highway 12 closed. they're now reopened for the most part, but again there's still a lot going on and please, drive safe and within your means and don't drive on the roads unless you absolutely have to. thank you and with that i'd like to introduce the acting chief for santa rosa pd, craig schwartz. >> good evening. my name is craig schwartz.
i'm captain with the santa rosa police department, currently acting chief. as the others have all said, this incident started for us about 17 hours ago when we first got notice that the fires were moving rapidly into the city of santa rosa. since that time the santa rosa police department along with our fellow law enforcement officers throughout the county and the region as well as firefighters have been engaged in continual evacuation and rescue efforts. those efforts are still ongoing. we do still have new fires flaring up within the city and our officers are continuing to go around and evacuate people from the affected areas and when those people are unable to get out of the area going in to actually try and perform some rescues. it has been a horrific and
terrifying night for a great many people and we ask that as we continue with these efforts like the others have said, stay out of the mandatory evacuation areas for your own safety as well as for the safety of the first responders who have to go in and try and contain these fires and rescue people inside the areas. to that end the city of santa rosa through the city manager's authority under an emergency declaration has enacted a curfew for the mandatory evacuation zones from 6:45 p.m., sunset, until sunrise. anybody who is out in those hours in the mandatory evacuation zone will be subject to stop and potentially arrest if they refuse to either go back inside or leave the areas. in this case they would have to leave the mandatory evacuation zone. that's for the safety of the people in that area as well as the safety of the first
responders in allowing us to get through and try and get the situation under control as efficiently as possible. with that i'd like to introduce the santa rosa city manager, shawn mcglenn. >> good evening. i just want to take a chance to thank the citizens and the city of santa rosa for the resiliency they've shown in this very, very trying and difficult time and also to acknowledge the astonishing work that our public safety team has done over the last 17 hours. when i stepped into the situation about 3:00 this morning, we had to declare a local state of emergency. shortly thereafter the county declared a state of emergency and then we had the governor declare a state of emergency for the county. i would just be remiss without also acknowledging all the hard
work and all the support we're getting from across the state as people come here and deploy and assist us and this is very, very difficult and trying time, but i will tell you the men and women of the city of santa rosa are committed to seeing this through and helping everything they can. what i would say is i would urge the citizens of the city of santa rosa to go to our website srcity.org and connect with us as we get information out about this dynamic and ever changing situation. thank you. and now i'd like to turn over the podium to the mayor, chris corsi. >> i'm mayor chris corsi and first of all, i want to acknowledge i'm frustrated as all of you at the scarcity of information we have at this point. i want to know how many people have died, been injured, are in
shelters, how many people have been evacuated and how many structures have been lost. it's frustrating. on the other hand, for the last 17 or 18 hours our personnel have been out there doing the job that's saving lives and that's got to come first. there will be time later on to measure up the damage and count the numbers. i want to just say that my heart goes out to everyone who has suffered loss in the last day or so. i'm lucky. my house is fine. my family is fine. my city is not. it's going to take a long time for us to recover from what's happened today. i'm really glad to have the support of our local, our county, our state and federal partners. we're going to need you as we go through this difficult time. i also want to say that santa
rosa is a strong city. we're a resilient city. rear an indivisible city and we'll need to -- we're an indivisible city and we'll need to hang together as we go through this. thank you. next up is our board of supervisors charleswoman shirley zane. >> thank you. along with me is supervisor david rabbitt. i want to assure our residents that it has been all hands on deck since 3:00, 4:00 in the morning when we opened and operated, begin to operate our emergency operation center. the amount of people that have come together to work on this is truly amazing and i will also tell you that i'm devastated in terms of what i've seen. it is beyond belief. as the mayor said, i think a lot of us who are elected in office are frustrated right now
because we so want to care and minister to the people that we love and serve. i did spend some time out at the evacuee centers today, this morning and this afternoon, and of special interest and concern to me is the many seniors who got evacuated from assisted living and skilled nursing who need medication, additional oxygen tanks and have other very fragile medical needs. i will also tell you that i spoke with the senator harris' office this morning about some of those needs. i am very encouraged that the state and the federal government is here being represented and that they understand the devastation that we've experienced and we are a resilient county and we will come back from this, but right now we need to grieve because the loss is significant and we
promise you we will try and get you as much information as we can through multiple means. now you'd i'd -- i'd like to introduce my supervisor. >> i'd to give a brave shout out to the men and women battling flames and a shout out to all the men and women protecting them and all the forces. as the city manager mentioned, the resiliency of this county is amazing. i was in petaluma earlier today and cars were lined up delivering goods. so people's hearts are big in this county. they want to step up. we look forward to moving forward together, rebuilding together with the help of our state and federal partners and i very much appreciate that. thank you. >> now i'd like to introduce our congressman, mike thompson.
>> i'm mike thompson. i represent part of the sonoma county. jared huffman represents the other part in the united states congress and jim wood, our assemblyman, and i just want everybody to know that your state and federal partners are going to be working overtime to make sure that we're there to help in any way and every way we can. as you've already heard, the governor declared a state of emergency. that's been forwarded to the federal government. it rests with fema right now. my office has been involved with fema and been pushing them to make the declaration. so far they've approved the federal fire assistance grants which will help a great deal, but as this progresses i fully expect that we'll be getting assistance from fema in the way of public assistance which is going to be very, very important for our state and local government partners and individual assistance which will be assistance for those
individuals who have suffered a loss of property. there will also be, i'm assuming, low interest loans that will be available. i was in the helicopter today, the sonoma county sheriff's department helicopter, took a number of photographs. all those have been sent both to fema and to the white house to make sure that they know how serious this is and how devastated our community is and i look forward to continuing to work with the community and a special thank to all the firefighters and all the sheriffs and police officers. they've been doing a fantastic job along with all the local government employees who have just been working 24/7 on this and all the fantastic volunteers. thank you. >> we'll take a few questions. direct who you'd like to speak to.
[ can't hear question ] >> the fire is still under investigation at this time. we're less than 17 hours and we haven't investigated to determine what the cause of the fire is. [ can't hear question ] >> i can't tell you any more about the deaths. we've only recovered seven. >> reporter: are they recovering any debris in rubble? >> in hotspots of the fire. [ can't hear question ] >> we've been getting reports of people in neighborhoods and a couple of possible burglary calls, so we're just starting to feel that. let me add this. we have 200 people working just for the sheriff's office law enforcement officers now, roughly to 80 to 90 sheriff's office employees and then 120 to 150 depending what time of day from all the bay area supporting law enforcement agencies. we're getting excellent support from the other law enforcement
places. so we're locking the neighborhood down to make sure we don't have that problem. >> reporter: they're looting homes, businesses? >> we just had a couple calls on homes. >> reporter: how far reaching is your mutual aid? >> we have alameda. san francisco sent 100. alameda, san mateo, roughly 20 agencies sent people for us today. the farthest i'm away are right now are san mateo and san francisco. >> reporter: are there people accounted for? >> they've found seven so far. >> reporter: was there an active rescue going on, will you say what areas they're taking place? >> active rescues? no just evacuations. >> reporter: calls for evacuations '. >> i can cover some of that for -- evacuations? >> i can cover some of that for you. rescues were still in the
fountain grove, parkway neighborhoods and montgomery drive on the east end of town. most of the evacuation and rescue efforts that were taking place later in the afternoon were still in the fountain grove area. that was also the site of some of the most harrowing rescues last night where on the radio officers were going in reporting they were surrounded by flames and having a hard time getting out as well as in some of the mobile home complexes along the highway 101 corridor. >> reporter: how did they get out? >> i don't know. i just know that they all got out and in many cases were able to get victims into their cars and transport them either to evacuation centers or hospitals. >> reporter: are they being rescued now? [ can't hear question ] >> i couldn't tell you for certain. i know in a few cases we believe that to be true, but i don't know about all of them. >> reporter: what part of
santa rosa are they in? those who are being evacuated now. >> primarily in the fountain grove neighborhoods. we were doing evacuations regentsly on springlake village on montgomery drive by springlake, but most of them are taking place in the hills at fountain grove parkway. >> reporter: what's the capacity of shelters? >> we have a number of shelters open. we currently evacuated people to the veterans memorial building very close to here, our finley community center on the west side of town. we have also accepted the gracious offers of help from the santa rosa city school district and have been able to take people to lc island high school on the south end of town, cook middle school, anna lee high school and casting high school in petaluma -- casa
grande high school in petaluma. some of those are at capacity and others we have a little room left. >> reporter: is there a count on how many people in shelters? >> i don't have that count for you. i'm told during evacuations for the city of santa rosa -- >> we're watching live at a press conference in santa rosa right now talking about the fire there burning in sonoma county. just the latest numbers on sonoma county itself, 20 to 30,000 acres burned, 0% contained. >> there are a number of fires burning in napa county, 25,000, all told over 70,000 acres have been consumed, over 1,500 buildings and some are homes. we believe 10 people at least have lost their lives in the combination of these fires starting with the crazy weather we saw overnight. advice from law enforcement tonight, stay off the roads. stay out of the burn areas and out of the evacuation areas. >> here's a live look from
chopper 5. there you can see that thick haze that's just blanketing the entire bay area right now. let's send it over to jackie ward. what can you tell us? >> reporter: this is the devastation we're seeing, homes just rubble and dust. it's still smoldering. we have flames burning in the background in one of those lots back there. cal fire has been here for a little bit. they'll come by and put water on what's left of these homes, the foundation and dirt rather, but then they have to get to other areas. so there are neighbors that have resorted to hosing down hotspots that they can. so this is just a little bit of what is complete wreckage and devastation in the neighborhood called coffee park in the northwest section of the city of santa rosa. if you continue down a few blocks on san miguel avenue,
you will see blocks and blocks of this kind of devastation. we've spoken to people who live around here and they say yeah, they know it's fire season in california, but they never would expect a fire of this magnitude to strike a densely populated area like santa rosa. they're walking around shocked and stunned. as you can see, there's a line of cars. traffic has been like this a couple of hours with people gawking at what's become a local spectacle. please, you heard the officials earlier. stay off the road if you can. this is an evacuated area. they want you out of here so you can stay safe. jackie ward, kpix5. >> stay with kpix5 and www.cbssf.com for the very latest on the wine country wildfires. >> veronica and i will have extended coverage from the fire zone, a special two hour edition of kpix5 news that begins at 6:00. join us for that tonight. we'll have all the latest as well on where you can get help, how the red cross is working,
where if you still need an evacuation center to go to, where you can go, www.cbssf.com. captio nsored by cbs >> quijano: fleeing the flames. tens of thousands of californians are forced to evacuate as wildfires destroy hundreds of homes and threaten many more. >> this is the stuff you have nightmares about. >> quijano: also tonight, this is how you get to the front line at breakneck speed to avoid isis snipers. >> quijano: an american in the war against isis. mike hogan from phoenix, >> mike hogan from phoenix, arizona, who was a waiter before he came here six months ago. >> quijano: a chinese farm product that needs plenty of sun but not a drop of water. >> i've been taking my time. ♪ i feel like i made up my mind. ♪. >> quijano: and the song that is striking a chord with people in crisis.