Fire forces evacuations, shuts down weddings, birthday party in Sonoma County

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Marc Foley watched the fast-moving fire whip across Garden Pavilion event center, located on S.R. 121 near Schellville.

He lives in the Victorian house, which ended up being spared.

He thinks a quarter of the property is destroyed.

Cal Fire dumped water on the blaze which forced 100 people to evacuate and shut down two weddings at Cornerstone Gardens, and a 70th birthday party at The Pavilion.

Party hats, wine, and food were left behind as guests ran.

Marc Foley said, "They set up tables, that's completely gone, all these barns in the front are gone, all the vehicles are gone, the shed building is completely gone."

The fire started in a ditch on 121 in front of the Pavilion event center and across from Gloria Ferrer winery. It headed south and then the wind picked it up and pushed it right into a building."

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Witness Tom Eichler said, "The lord picked today to have the wind the way it was. This is the windiest it's been in weeks."

The wind only added to the list of problems fire fighters faced.

Schell Vista Fire Protection District Chief Ray Mulas said, "Trying to figure out where it's going with the smoke laying like it was, the wind blowing, trying to do evacuations, covering different roads, making sure it hadn't gotten through, didn't ember cast out on us."

Roads were closed and traffic was diverted out of the fire zone.

For evacuees - all of this brings back vivid memories from the North Bay fires.

Janet Hayden said, "Just a couple years ago we were all running for our lives."

In this case three buildings were lost.

The cause is under investigation.
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