A heartbreaking nine-minute compilation video by Press Democrat photographer Kent Porter documents the first hours of the devastating Tubbs fire the early morning of Oct. 9.

The video shows what it was like on the front lines as the blaze roared through parts of Santa Rosa, ultimately killing 21 people and burning more than 36,000 acres.

Read an hour-by-hour account of the fire by Press Democrat reporter Julie Johnson here and see a New York Times map of the fire’s progression here.

See the video here (warning: disturbing video):

 – The brother of a paraplegic woman who died in the Tubbs fire last month has filed a negligence and unlawful death lawsuit in Sonoma County against PG&E.
   
Torrey Thomas’ lawsuit and others allege PG&E’s failure to maintain its electrical power lines caused them to fall to the ground and spark the Tubbs fire that killed 23 people in Sonoma County last month.
   
Thomas’ sister Tamara Thomas, 47, died in a 6-bed residential care home on Crestview Court near the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa.
   
“Tamara Thomas was my sister – my only sister. She died 26 days ago and I still can’t get it out of my head. She knew that she was going to burn alive. And she did. This didn’t have to happen. She didn’t have to die,” Thomas read in a prepared statement.
   

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PAUL PAYNE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | November 4, 2017, 3:35PM

With nearly the intensity of a fast-burning wildfire, lawyers from across the country have swept into Santa Rosa in search of clients who suffered losses in the recent blazes and want to sue PG&E, seeking billions of dollars in potential damages.

Seemingly overnight, out-of-town firms have moved in and set up shop, soliciting business through newspaper and billboard ads, informational meetings at hotel ballrooms and social media.

The rush is happening as many local lawyers who lost their own homes are still digging out from the rubble or awaiting the results of official investigations to determine the cause of the fires.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Patrick Emery, a partner in the Santa Rosa firm of Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren & Emery, where several members lost their homes. “This community has never had a disaster of this scale so we haven’t experienced it here.”

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PAUL PAYNE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | November 3, 2017, 6:01PM

A tug-of-war is brewing over whether Sonoma County or San Francisco courts should handle the thousands of wildfire lawsuits expected to emerge against PG&E.

Lawyers representing one group of plaintiffs argue San Francisco is a better venue because the court is larger and has the administrative capacity for more complex cases. They have petitioned the California Judicial Council to appoint one San Francisco judge to oversee all pretrial matters including depositions, hearings and evidence disputes.But other lawyers seeking damages against PG&E say the cases belong in Sonoma County where the fires charred about 100,000 acres, destroyed 4,000 homes and killed 23 people. They are seeking to block a move across the Golden Gate to PG&E’s headquarters city with their own Judicial Council motion.

“Why would I want to fight the case in PG&E’s backyard?” Santa Rosa attorney Roy Miller said in a press conference Friday outside the Sonoma County courthouse. “It’s insane to go to San Francisco.”

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