Watch: Berkeley firefighters arrive in Santa Rosa, encounter devastation

On Monday at 5 a.m., Berkeley Fire Engine 6 was dispatched to help a neighboring department in Sonoma. It had little idea of what was to come.

The three firefighters who shot and edited the film published here — acting captain Kyl Fleming, apparatus operator Clifford Broome and firefighter Mike Shuken — happened to be working together at Station 6 that morning, although they usually work at different stations, Shuken told Berkeleyside.

The crews knew barely anything about their assignment, simply that they would be assisting with an incident called the Tubbs Fire.The engine joined another four from San Francisco and a leader, creating a strike team that headed north.

When they arrived in Santa Rosa the firefighters discovered a horrifying scene, including hundreds of destroyed homes on block after block of still-burning lots, one of which — they later learned — belonged to one of their Berkeley Fire colleagues.


The video tells a powerful story.

Engine 6 left Sonoma on Tuesday evening but another Berkeley Fire crew swapped out with them.

“We don’t typically video our responses, but this was so big and unprecedented that we did this time — of course when we felt it wouldn’t slow us or interfere with our operations,” said Shuken. Included with the video are the following links for those who wish to help victims of the devastating North Bay fires, which have yet to be contained:

Berkeley firefighters work through piles of debris putting out hot spots and salvaging anything that can be kept for home owners. Photo: Berkeley Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 1227
Berkeley firefighters work through piles of debris putting out hot spots and salvaging anything that can be kept for home owners. Photo: Berkeley Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 1227
Berkeley firefighters work through piles of debris putting out hot spots and salvaging anything that can be kept for home owners. Photo: Berkeley Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 1227