Category Archives: From The KCBS Radio Newsroom

Humble Hero Saved 18 From Deadly Wildfire

KCBS_740 CALISTOGA (KCBS) — When the Tubbs Fire exploded outside Calistoga, it raced over a nearby ridge and into the Franz Valley. Within minutes, it was bearing down on Mayacamas Ranch, a 250-acre resort and retreat center on Mountain Home Ranch Road. David Levy, the resort’s owner, realized they had no time to spare, and had to evacuate the ranch.
His longtime chef and ranch hand, Miguel Islas, ran door to door, going from cabin to cabin, telling the 18 guests on the property to get out. While others were leaving, Islas rushed to the pool to make sure no one was there, then checked all the cabins again to make sure no one was left behind, like a pilot on a downed airliner. WINE COUNTRY WILDFIRES: Continuing Coverage By then, it was almost too late for Islas to get out safely himself. He drove through a wall of fire, as the ranch was consumed by the flames behind him. He told KCBS Reporter Doug Sovern the wind, and the force of the fire, were so strong, it felt like someone was pushing him from behind. His car windows were so hot, he thought his car would explode. Islas had lived and worked at Mayacamas for 15 years. He kept his life savings of $16,000 in cash, in his room. He was celebrated not just for his giving spirit, but for his amazing cooking, whipping up gourmet meals for the thousands of Bay Area artists, writers, yoga practitioners and others who have been going to the ranch for years. Now, he’s lost everything. Sovern brought him back to the ranch this week, and Islas, and Levy, were both stunned by the devastation. “It’s like a bomb went off. There’s no crater, ” says Levy, “but everything is just incinerated.” “We have nothing. There’s nothing here,” says Islas. “Nothing of the paradise.” Levy says Islas is a hero, who saved 18 lives, but the chef says he’s no hero. He stood sobbing as he poked through the ruins of his beloved kitchen, and searched in vain for something he could salvage. “This was my life. I feel like part of my life is gone,” Islas said. “Seeing my kitchen, I feel like I’m losing a part of my heart.” Islas did find one thing that survived the flames: a small, terra cotta sculpture of seven people in a circle, arms around each other, holding each other up. Levy says it will be a symbol of renewal, and of whatever rises from the ashes of Mayacamas Ranch. The fire left Islas homeless, unemployed, and broke. But he’s already looking to a future, of rebuilding and recovery. “I have my life,’ Islas says. “That’s all that matters. My lives, and the lives of the other people.” A Gofundme account has been setup to help Islas — https://www.gofundme.com/mayacamas-ranch-chef. A GoFundme account has also been setup to help the Ranch — https://www.gofundme.com/MayacamasRecovery.

State Senator: Break Up PG&E If Their Negligence Caused Wildfires

KCBS_740 SAN BRUNO (KCBS) – State Senator Jerry Hill says if it is determined negligence from PG&E caused the Wine Country fires, then he will move to break up the company. Hill said if it’s found that PG&E’s equipment had anything to do with causing the fires, the company should no longer do business in California. WINE COUNTRY WILDFIRES: Continuing Coverage | How To Help The senator represents the San Bruno neighborhood hit by a PG&E pipeline explosion in 2010 that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. Hill’s comments come after a Santa Rosa couple who lost their home in the Tubbs Fire filed a lawsuit against the utility over alleged negligence. Company CEO Geisha Williams said it’s way too early for her to be thinking about that scenario. Williams said the utility is focused on restoring power to the area and helping Cal Fire crews and fire victims rebuild.  

Passenger Injured In Freeway Shooting On I-580 In Castro Valley

KCBS_740 CASTRO VALLEY (KCBS) – One person was injured in a shooting on Interstate 580 in Castro Valley on Tuesday night. Officer Dan Jacowitz of the California Highway Patrol told KCBS that the shooting was first reported around 9:00 p.m. A witness saw someone fire shots from a black sedan into a Nissan between Redwood Road and Strobridge Avenue. CHP officers arrived at the scene, but found no victims, no suspect, and no other evidence. Two hours later a gunshot victim showed up at a hospital, Jacowitz said. “About 11 p.m. yesterday evening, a 21-year-old male who ended up being a passenger in the Nissan sedan, checked into an emergency room in Oakland with a gunshot wound,” the officer told KCBS. The victim had been treated and released from the hospital. When the CHP found the Nissan, it had struck by gunfire several times. Jacowitz said they are still trying to determine what provoked the shooting.

Madden: CJ Beathard Showed He’s “The Guy” at QB for the 49ers Right Now

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/AP) — Rookie C.J. Beathard rallied the San Francisco 49ers Sunday from 17 points down, giving fans a glimmer of hope in an 0-6 season so far. His play caught the attention of former Raiders coach and NFL Hall of Famer John Madden. Beathard, a third-round pick out of Iowa and grandson of former Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard, took over for Hoyer with about six and a half minutes left in the first half and the 49ers down 14-0. On his regular Monday morning interview on KCBS Radio Madden says Beathard showed he’s “the guy” right now for the 49ers and most likely the rest of the season. “He’s the guy until they find another guy” Madden said “If he’s really the guy, the guy, then they don’t have to go after one (Quarterback) high in the draft this coming year. If he’s just a guy that may be back-up or hang1arounder or whatever, they’re gonna have to get a Quarterback.” Bethard threw for 245 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He’s a third-round pick out of Iowa. With the 49ers down by two in the final minute, Beathard led them toward field goal range. He was intercepted by Kendall Fuller on fourth down to seal the result.

Wrong Turn Proved Deadly In The Tubbs Wildfire

SANTA ROSA (AP/CBS SF) — George Powell woke to a wall of fire already bearing down on his Santa Rosa home and immediately yelled to his 72-year-old wife, Lynne Anderson Powell: “Get out!” Lynne Powell grabbed her border collie, Jemma, which always slept next to her, a laptop and asked for the best way to get away from their Blue Ridge Trail mountain home before jumping in her car. George Powell left 15 minutes later after fetching his three dogs. He now realizes when he raced down the mountain he drove past his wife’s car that had gone off the road and into a ravine as she tried to escape to Mark West Springs Road in the heavy smoke. After searching for her all night and the next day, a detective called to tell him a body burned beyond recognition was found steps from her car. Inside was a dog also burned to death. “If I had known, I would have gone down there with her, even if it meant I would have died with her,” the 74-year-old Powell said. “I don’t know how I’m going to cope. She was my life.” He repeated: “She was my life.” The couple had been married for 33 years. He was a photojournalist and she was a professional flutist, spending much of her career playing for the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, which operated until 2011. ALSO READ: The two met while she was on vacation in Los Angeles, where George Powell freelanced for newspapers. He said it was “love at first sight” and he moved to New Mexico to be with her. After they retired, they settled in northern California so his wife could take care of her aging parents. The two shared a love of border collies and entered in agility runs with their dogs. She was an avid quilter. The fire took everything, including her quilts and his life’s photo archive. Lynne Powell did not want a memorial service or obituary. But George Powell said he may hold a special lunch with friends to celebrate her life. “I don’t think I ever felt unloved or uncared for any second of my life with her,” he said.

Homeowners Impacted By Wine Country Fires Can Get Property Tax Relief

KCBS_740 SANTA ROSA (KCBS) – With the property tax deadline looming, relief is available for homeowners in Northern California whose homes have been destroyed or damaged in the wildfires. The State Board of Equalization said affected homeowners are eligible for a program that temporarily re-assesses their property to reflect a lower value based on its damaged condition. People who live in counties where the governor has declared a state of emergency may also apply for a deferral of their next property tax payment without penalties or interest. Homeowners can get more information on these programs at the Board of Equalization’s website.

John Madden: Bay Area Football, and Raiders Training Camp Memories

SAN FRANCISCO (AP/KCBS) – It was a tough weekend to be a Bay Area football fan.

For the 49ers, it was a loss to the Colts, even after the Colts blew a 14-point lead in the last eight minutes of regulation before Adam Vinatieri drilled a 51-yard field goal with 1:38 left in overtime to complete the 26-23 triumph over the 49ers. Vinatieri is the last remaining Colts player from Peyton Manning’s first Super Bowl team, so it was fitting that he win the game after Indianapolis retired Manning’s No. 18 at halftime.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett had a 3-yard scoring run early in the fourth to give the Colts a seemingly safe 23-9 lead, but the Niners tied the game on TD receptions by Kyle Juszczyk and George Kittle from Brian Hoyer.

The Raiders, meanwhile, were playing without injured star quarterback Derek Carr.

Meanwhile, the Ravens whipped the 2-3 Raiders 30-17.

On John Madden’s mind when he spoke live on KCBS Monday morning was his memories of time spent in Santa Rosa during Raiders training camps when he was head coach of the team.

Much of Santa Rosa was consumed by fire Sunday and into Monday, when he spoke to KCBS’ Stan Bunger and Steve Bitker.

“That’s a great place and great people. You just hate to hear this and follow this and know that stuff is happening in an area where you spent a lot of time,” Madden said.

“It was a great place, some of those training camps and going away were some of the most enjoyable parts of my coaching,” he said.