Fire tears through Petaluma neighborhood destroying 4 homes, damaging 10

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- A grass fire ripped through a Petaluma neighborhood Tuesday so quickly that residents didn't have a chance to grab anything before they had to leave. People were picking through the ashes Wednesday.

Investigators are trying to figure out what triggered a fire Tuesday in Petaluma that destroyed four homes. Most of the fire victims slept somewhere else Tuesday night, so they are just now returning home and getting a good look at the damage.

PHOTOS: Petaluma fire damages homes near Hwy. 101

With heavy hearts, fire victims on Stuart Drive in Petaluma are processing what they suffered through and figuring out what to do next.

"Guess we are going to start cleaning eventually, check on my neighbors, pick it up from there. I have no idea, I have never been in a fire," said fire victim DJ Brillhart.

As they figure out how to clean up, neighbors are also still sharing stories of what they went through yesterday afternoon.

"I stepped right out here and when I looked there was so much smoke and just embers falling, like if you were in a volcanic eruption," said Rachel Brillhart.

Rachal Brillhart knew she needed to get out of there. But first-she thought of her elderly neighbor, who lives alone.

"I ran over there and I burnt my feet the who time getting over there, and when I got her she was so scared and worried," Rachel Brillhart said.

She got her out OK. Two people did suffer minor injuries and a cat died in the fire. Four homes were destroyed, 10 others were damaged.

The blaze started at 3:15 p.m. Some trees located between Highway 101 and a row of homes. The homes were evacuated and the northbound side of the highway was shut down for a couple of hours. Fire victims are mourning what they lost, but also thinking about what could have happened.

"You can't be too sad about it because people didn't die. I didn't lose the entire house it's not as bad as it could have been," DJ Brillhart said.

Residents want to know what started the fire. Firefighters say the cause is still under investigation.
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