All posts by CBS San Francisco

High Demand For N95 Masks Depletes Stock At Bay Area Stores

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — In wake of the poor air quality caused by the smoke from the Camp Fire, people around the Bay Area have been seen wearing masks to protect themselves from the bad air.

But some say they’re having trouble purchasing these protective masks because everyone else has been buying them.

Outside Fredericksen Hardware and Paint on Fillmore St., there was a sign reading, “Sorry, no air purifiers, no masks. Maybe Monday.”

Store employees said the masks are in such high demand that when they restock them, they’ll be behind the counter and customers will likely be limited to the number of masks they can buy.

It’s the same story at Nob Hill Hardware; the store is completely sold out of the N95 masks. But it did have P100 respirators on its shelves for $59, which provide more respiratory protection than the N95 masks.

“Our hardware store ran out… they ran out. The fire department ran out. It’s crazy,” said , San Francisco residents Cindy and David Cole.

Another day of unhealthy air quality also forced tourists visiting San Francisco to change their plans.

“I thought we would walk around and hit up the different parks and relax and enjoy a bit of better weather than Seattle. And then, getting down here, it was staying inside our hotel. And now we are trying to find alternative things to do,” said Adrian Bussey.

San Francisco locals tried to make the best of the situation.

“This past weekend, Friday and Saturday, we’ve been stuck inside. Today, we have these wonderful tickets to go to the Giants’ AT&T Park for some fun Top Golf. So we wanted to take advantage while we could. I didn’t want the smoke to stop us,” said Sharon Leung.

The smoke has brought more people to urgent care clinics across the city. Carbon Health on Market St. said patients who don’t have asthma have been complaining about chest pain, shortness of breath and migraines.

By Friday, San Francisco’s Homeless Outreach Team handed out 1,400 masks. On Sunday evening, the city opened its doors to 60 homeless people at its winter shelter inside the Saint Boniface Church.

“This is our 30th year doing the winter shelter between the SF Interfaith Coalition and ECS, and it’s especially important this year, opening now with all the air quality issues that we are seeing,” said Randy Quezada of the Department of Homelessness & Supportive Housing.

Rain Could Slow Search For Camp Fire Victims

PARADISE, Calif. (CBS SF/AP) — The search for remains of victims of the devastating Northern California wildfire has taken on new urgency as rain in the forecast could complicate those efforts while also bringing relief to firefighters on the front lines.

Up to 400 people fanned out Sunday to search the ash and rubble where homes once stood before flames roared through the Sierra foothills town of Paradise and surrounding communities, killing at least 77 people in the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century.

Wearing white coveralls, hard hats and masks, teams of volunteers and search and rescue crews poked through the smoky debris for fragments of bone before rains can wash them away or turn loose, dry ash into a thick paste. The so-called Camp Fire has destroyed more than 10,500 homes.

A team of 10 volunteers, accompanied by a cadaver dog, went from house to house in the charred landscape. They scrutinized the rubble in five-minute sweeps, using sticks to move aside debris and focused on vehicles, bathtubs and what was left of mattresses.

When no remains were found, they spray-painted a large, orange “0” near the house and moved on.

Robert Panak, a volunteer on a team from Napa County, said he tried to picture the house before it burned and think where people might have hidden. His morning search was fruitless, but he wasn’t deterred.

“I just think about the positives, bringing relief to the families, closure,” Panak said.

Sheriff Kory Honea said it was within the “realm of possibility” that officials would never know the exact death toll from the blaze. He also questioned whether the search for remains could be completed by midweek when rain is forecast.

“As much as I wish that we could get through all of this before the rains come, I don’t know if that’s possible,” Honea said.

About 1,000 names remain on a list of people unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began in Butte County about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of San Francisco, authorities said.

Authorities don’t believe all those on the list are missing and the roster dropped by 300 on Sunday as more people were located or got in touch to say they weren’t missing.

On Sunday afternoon, more than 50 people gathered at a memorial for the victims at First Christian Church in Chico, where a banner on the altar read, “We will rise from the ashes.”

People hugged and shed tears as Pastor Jesse Kearns recited a prayer for first firefighters, rescuers and search teams: “We ask for continued strength as they are growing weary right now.”

Paul Stavish, who retired three months ago from a Silicon Valley computer job and moved to Paradise, placed a battery-powered votive candle on the altar as a woman played piano and sang “Amazing Grace.”

Stavish, his wife and three dogs managed to escape the fire, but the house is gone. He said he was thinking of the dead and also mourning the warm, tight-knit community.

“This is not just a few houses getting burned,” he said. “The whole town is gone.”

Hundreds of search and recovery personnel are involved in the effort, going to homes where they received tips that someone might have died.

But they are also doing a more comprehensive, “door-to-door” and “car-to-car” search of areas, said Joe Moses, a commander with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, who is helping oversee the search and rescue effort.

The search area is huge, Moses said, with many structures that need to be checked.

The fire also burned many places to the ground, creating a landscape unique to many search-and- rescue personnel, he said.

“Here we’re looking for very small parts and pieces, and so we have to be very diligent and systematic in how we do your searches,” he said Friday.

The death count only grew by one Sunday and firefighters managed to expand containment to 65 percent of the 234 square mile (606 sq. kilometers) burn zone.

Rain was forecast for midweek in the Paradise area. The National Weather Service said the area could get 20 mph (32 kph) sustained winds and 40 mph (64 kph) gusts, which could make it hard for crews to keep making progress against the blaze.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Marin County Fire Academy Prepares Next Gen. Of Firefighters

MARIN COUNTY (KPIX 5) — More than 5,000 firefighters are still on the front lines in Butte County fighting the Camp Fire. Just a few months ago, some of them were cadets in the California Wildland Fire Academy.

For seasonal firefighters, they undergo integral training in the form of live fire exercises, which take place during hot, dry conditions for wild fires in Marin County.

“We get our seasonal firefighters out to the fire line with active fire. We are able to create a real life environment where they are pressured, but still in a safe environment where we can monitor what they are doing and teach them the fundamentals,” said Bret McTigue, the Marin County Fire Battalion Chief.

The training teaches them more than just firefighting techniques.

Firefighters-in-training got to experience first-hand how hot real flames can blaze and how much smoke they can produce.

“Your eyes are watering and you’re coughing,” said Jack McKernan, a seasonal firefighter. “It’s invaluable.”

“And just to feel that on your body is a whole different experience rather than learning it in the classroom,” explained Cameron Robinson.

Their training also teaches them effective communication in emergency situations.

“Communication is huge in every aspect, no matter whether you’re talking to your buddy on the hose lay to if an emergency pops up and you have to relay communication to your supervisor,” said McKernan.

“It’s a teamwork environment and we all need to be functioning at a high team environment,” said Chief McTigue.

After hours of intense drills, recruits realize another important necessity in wild land firefighting: taking breaks.

Chief McTigue said that on real fires, firefighters fight as hard as they possibly can and then, when the moment is safe, they refuel.

“To get a nice cold bottle of water and a shot of Gatorade after going up the hill and fighting fire definitely feels good,” said McKernan.

But they often don’t have much time before they have to get back to work.

At the end of the day, after the smoke clears, firefighters stay behind to mop up. They turn up every little bit of dirt so that they can leave the fire scene knowing that the blaze won’t rekindle or reignite from any source.

Recruits in the academy leave ready for the hectic California fire season.

“What we are doing today is building the next generation of firefighters in the state of California,” said McTigue.

Fire Evacuees In Temporary Relief Areas Seek New Refuge

CHICO (KPIX 5) — There is a race to move hundreds of Camp Fire evacuees out of a Walmart parking lot in Chico as rain is expected to fall this coming week.

State and county officials and the Red Cross directed evacuees to go to the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley, but many found themselves in unofficial relief areas that bridged the area’s immediate need for shelter.

Though there was a steady flow of new arrivals at the fairgrounds on Sunday, they all gave glowing reviews.

People who came to the fairgrounds told other evacuees to not hesitate to come, as it’s not as crowded as some may think. There are plentiful resources there as well.

The Walmart lot in Chico is just one temporary location, but it’s now at the end of its useful lifespan. Evacuees aren’t getting kicked out just yet, but they’re starting to pack up after realizing that they’ll have to relocate soon.

“That’s why they’re moving them out of the churches and the Walmart,”  said Sandy Philip, who lost her Paradise home to the Camp Fire.

But there are still many people scattered in many places.

Matt Nelson is the organizer of a relief effort at the Woodson Bridge RV Park in Tehama County. His biggest challenge is figuring out what to do with the mountains of donations that have arrived before they could tell donors they didn’t need any more due to the incoming rain.

For many, medium or long-term answers just haven’t yet arrived.

“Just one day at a time,” said Philip.


Bay Area Commemorates 40th Anniversary Of Jonestown Massacre

OAKLAND, Calif. (CBS SF/AP) — Ceremonies at a California cemetery marked the mass murders and suicides 40 years ago of 900 Americans orchestrated by the Rev. Jim Jones at a jungle settlement in Guyana, South America.

The remains of more than 400 Jonestown victims are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.

jonestown oakland Bay Area Commemorates 40th Anniversary Of Jonestown Massacre

Visitors paid respects at a Jonestown memorial held in Oakland on Sunday. (CBS)

Jones’ adopted son Jim Jones Jr. and other former Peoples Temple members conducted a service Sunday at granite slabs bearing names of all 918 who died in Guyana on Nov. 18, 1978.

Minister Jynona Norwood, who lost 27 relatives, separately unveiled a portable memorial wall to honor more than 300 children and other victims. She left off the names of Jones and those she says assisted him.

Both memorials list California Congressman Leo Ryan, three newsmen and a church defector killed by temple gunmen at an airstrip.

KPIX 5 spoke with current Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who was traveling with the delegation as an aide.

She was shot five times and left for dead. She dragged herself into the baggage compartment of the plane, where she waited 22 hours for help to arrive.

“I was expecting to die. I said the Act of Contrition,” she said.

Usually, on November 18th, she thanks God that she is still alive and goes to the cemetery to lay flowers on Leo Ryan’s grave.

But Sunday, in front of a full house at the Book Passage in Corte Madera, she opened up about staring death in the eye and making the most of her second chance at life.

She spoke to supplement the release of her memoir Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back, which details her experiences in Guyana, the numerous other hurdles she’s faced and what’s helped her overcome each tragedy.

“I call it the Three F’s: Family, Friends, and Faith. That’s how I’ve gotten through it all,” she said.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Fillmore community came together Sunday to recognize the Jonestown victims. A small memorial stood at Mini Park, with the hope of soon dedicating a larger tribute to the victims of the massacre 40 years ago.

The community wants to make sure that younger generations never forget the Jonestown massacre.

“You cannot tell the 150 year history of San Francisco without telling the story of Jonestown and Peoples Temple,” said Speier.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Vehicle Strikes Utility Pole, Leaving Nearly 600 Without Power

CALISTOGA (CBS SF) — Almost 600 Pacific Gas and Electric customers in Calistoga were without power tonight after a vehicle struck and damaged a utility pole along Silverado Trail and Dunaweal Lane Sunday evening.

A Calistoga police dispatcher said the accident happened just after 5 p.m. Sunday. The damaged pole and power lines cut electric power to 597 customers in that area, said PG&E spokeswoman Karly Hernandez.

The utility pole will need to be replaced, and crews were on scene tonight doing that work, Hernandez said.

It is expected that power for 327 of those customers will be restored by 9 p.m. Sunday evening. The other 270 customers will be without power until the early morning hours of Monday, Hernandez said, or possibly later if complications arise.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Some Colleges To Reopen As Smoke, Poor Air Keep Others Closed

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While some Bay Area colleges and universities say they will open for classes and other business on Monday, several others said they will remain closed Monday, and perhaps Tuesday, all the result of smoke coming south from the Camp Fire in Butte County.

Among those that will remain closed Monday are:

  • All San Francisco State University campuses, except for limited services in Residential Life, Student Health Services, the university Police Department, Procurement and essential personnel. A message regarding whether the campus closures will extend into Tuesday will be issued by 5 p.m. Monday.
  • All Contra Costa Community College District campuses and offices. Those closures include Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, satellite campuses in Brentwood and San Ramon, and the district offices in Martinez. A decision about reopening Tuesday will be made by 3 p.m. Monday.
  • Laney College in Oakland, which will remain closed Monday. An assessment as to when the campus will reopen is expected Monday.
  • De Anza College in Cupertino. A decision on reopening Tuesday is expected by 2 p.m. Monday.
  • Mills College in Oakland, closed Monday.
  • The University of California at Berkeley and Santa Clara University will remain closed this coming week because of the continuing poor air quality resulting from smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County, officials from those two schools said today.

Campuses that are set to resume classes Monday include:

  • Chabot College in Hayward and at Las Positas College in Livermore. Those are the main campuses of the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District.
  • The College of Marin’s Kentfield and Indian Valley Campuses. According to an email sent tonight, after consultation with Marin Health and Human Services and the Marin County Office of Education, college officials determined the air quality has returned to levels acceptable for classes to be held.
  • The College of San Mateo will be open for classes Monday.
  • San Jose State University will be open for classes and all other business Monday and Tuesday, university officials said today.

The Camp Fire, which started Nov. 8, continues to burn in Butte County. So far, 77 people have been confirmed dead, more than 10,000 homes destroyed and 150,000 acres burned. Tonight it was estimated to be 65 percent contained.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District expects Bay Area air quality to remain in the “unhealthy” range into Tuesday, and be healthier by Tuesday morning. As of Sunday night, air quality throughout the entire Bay Area from San Jose north to Santa Rosa and beyond was rated as “unhealthy” according to the Air Quality Index (AQI).

The Bay Area also remains under a Spare the Air warning, making it illegal to use their fireplaces, woodstoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Man, Woman Found Fatally Shot Inside San Jose Home

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Police are investigating an early-morning homicide that left a man and woman dead. The victims were found fatally shot after police responded to a home in the 6000 block of Pineland Avenue around 2:54 a.m., according to Sgt. Enrique Garcia.

Officers found a woman dead at the scene with a gunshot wound. A man found suffering from a gunshot wound was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

There are no outstanding suspects and the investigation is ongoing. The identities of the victims will be released by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner/Coroner’s Office after next of kin are notified.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Isidro Bagon or Detective Raul Corral at (408) 277-5283. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-7867.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

PG&E Reports 2nd Transmission Line Incident Near Start of Deadly Camp Fire

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Pacific Gas & Electric waited more than a week before relaying crucial information to state regulators about a second fire which broke out in the early-morning hours of Nov. 8, less than an hour after the Camp Fire — now the deadliest in state history — was first reported.

With firefighters already struggling to slow fast-moving flames roaring toward the town of Paradise, the blaze would quickly go from bad to worse. Thirty minutes later, and about 10 miles away, a second fire broke out near Concow.

Cal Fire has confirmed that investigators are looking into the possibility that problems with PG&E transmission lines may have sparked both fires.

PG&E has reported the incidents to state regulators but the utility waited nearly a week and a half before filing an incident report on the second fire. To put that in context, PG&E reported information about the initial fire in about 12 hours — the same day it broke out.

A copy of the incidence report has been posted online (PDF).

When asked about the delay, a spokesperson e-mailed, “As more information became available about this location, we determined it was important to share the information with our regulator.”

The second fire was captured on the network of cameras the utility helped install throughout communities vulnerable to wildfires.

The information provided in the report is preliminary. So far there has been no determination on the cause of the Camp Fire. Cal Fire is the lead agency investigating the fire’s origin.

Warriors Lose To Spurs 104-92, Finish Road Trip 0-3

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 18 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs fended off a late rally to beat short-handed Golden State 104-92 on Sunday night, extending the Warriors’ skid to three games.

Kevin Durant scored 26 points and Klay Thompson had 25 for Golden State, which is 2-5 since an eight-game winning streak.

DeMar DeRozan had 20 points and Rudy Gay added 19 to help San Antonio snap a three-game slide.

The Warriors were without injured starters Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, and their absence led to a cold start. Three nights after being held to a season-low output in a 107-86 loss at Houston, the two-time defending NBA champions nearly matched that dubious mark.

San Antonio jumped out to a 33-27 lead in the first quarter as Gay scored 12 points in the opening period.

The Spurs frustrated the Warriors offensively for much of the game. After quickly regaining an errant pass on their end of the court in the third quarter, Durant passed up a 3-pointer to fire a pass in the lane to Damian Jones only to have Gay stuff him at the rim.

San Antonio finished with five blocked shots.

Golden State’s lone lead came when Andre Iguodala made a pair of free throws to put the Warriors ahead 46-45 with 3:47 remaining in the second quarter. The lead lasted a minute before the Spurs closed the first half on an 11-2 run.


Warriors: Curry missed his sixth straight game with a strained left groin. Golden State is 2-4 without him.

Green missed his second consecutive game with a strained right toe. Warriors coach Steve Kerr got a technical foul 47 seconds into the second quarter after protesting a foul on Jonas Jerebko.

Durant was called for a technical after complaining about a non-call on his first field goal attempt of the second half.

Spurs: Aldridge has 202 games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds since 2006. LeBron James has 203 such games during that same span.

Pau Gasol missed his sixth straight game with a sore left foot. Davis Bertans sat out as he remains in the league’s concussion protocol.


Warriors: Host Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

Spurs: At New Orleans on Monday night.