Crews continue to monitor destructive North Bay fire

September 8, 2013 11:27:56 PM PDT
Flames shot high into the air when a brush fire reached a pallet factory in Sonoma County.

Crews from across the North Bay remain on scene because the fire is continuing to smolder. Streets and roads through Schellville will remain closed so that fire crews can easily respond in case there is a flare up.

Intense flames and lots of fuel to burn; that's what crews had to battle for hours, when fire from a dry field reached a pallet factory loaded with lots of dry wood.

Matthew Nagin, owner of Schellville Grill, says he was cooking when he heard about the fire.

"So I look out, the direction towards Napa, and the whole field was on fire," he said. "I mean, I've never seen anything like it, 75 to 100 foot flames."

Nagin's business is just yards from the pallet factory.

Hissing could be heard from the propane tank valves that were damaged by the fire.

Nagin told me grabbed his iPad to get some pictures of the fire, and got a series shots leading up to a massive explosion.

"Now, here's another one exploding, and then you got the grand finale," he said. "And this is, that's 200 feet."

No one was injured, but that was just one part of a complicated fire fight.

"We evacuated everybody out, it's like, every time a power line went down, we had to pull firefighters back," Schell Vista Fire Protection District Chief Ray Mulis said. "We had fences get energized so we had to clear operations there too."

Several power lines were damaged, leaving hundreds of homes without electricity for hours.

RV's parked at a nearby storage lot were also burned, and about ten commercial buildings were damaged.

The CHP says one of their officers saw what started this fire when he spotted a tow truck with sparks coming from a tow dolly.

"An officer was following a tow truck, pulling a vehicle on a tow dolly," CHP officer Anna Paulson said. "Sparks were seen coming from the back of that tow dolly. The officer made enforcement contact on that vehicle, pulled it over. By that time, sparks had gone into the dry brush close by and it took off from there."

This was a disturbing fire to watch, and neighbors are bracing for details about the damage.

"And then the aftermath, you look at the aftermath, and it's like, mama mia," Nagin said.

Crews will be on site for days to make sure the fire doesn't flare up again.

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