Search for origin of deadly North Bay fires continues

CALISTOGA, calif. (KGO) -- The Tubbs Fire, still burning near Santa Rosa, is now considered the most destructive fire in California history. Friday, investigators may have zeroed in on where it started. The investigation is focused on a rural area near Calistoga along Highway 128 near Bennett Lane. There are several wineries in the area.

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"I've never been so scared in my life actually," said Calistoga resident Paul Block. "When I got outside, I took a look and it was a 180-degree view of the fire you know -- from left to right. I think I was seeing the beginning -- the first 500 yards of the fire."

He says the flames hadn't even crossed Highway 128 yet. Since then, the Tubbs Fire has scorched more than 36,000 acres and destroyed thousands of homes. Calfire has not pinpointed a cause.

But investigators are focused on the area of Highway 128 and Bennett Lane, which connects to Tubbs Lane.

They are treating it as a crime scene. We found driveways cordoned off and security guards blocking entrances.

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Neighbor Luis Alberto Vargas says investigators came by to question him. "They're asking around what time it started -- when the power went out, when I noticed it. Stuff like that," he said.

Vargas said the power went out before the fire started. "The wind would knock you over. It was pretty strong," he told ABC7 News. "Like the leaves and fine dust and gravel was in your face."

Calfire has more than two-dozen investigators looking into all the different fires that broke out in the North Bay.

A spokesman told ABC7 News he knows the public wants answers, but they don't want to rush their investigation.

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