PETALUMA (KRON) — Two people suffered minor injuries and a cat was killed by a 3-alarm wildfire that destroyed four Petaluma homes and damaged 10 more Tuesday afternoon when it spread into a residential area, firefighters said.
Northbound 101 at Lakeville Highway was closed on Tuesday afternoon in Petaluma due to structure and tree fires, according to CHP Santa Rosa.
The fire was happening on the east side of the freeway, just south of East Washington. All lanes were closed, and traffic was being diverted off at Lakeville Highway, the CHP said.
All lanes have since reopened at 5 p.m., the CHP said. The fire broke out at around 3:15 p.m.
The fire spread to nearby homes. Flames could be seen on top of rooftops.
With the aid of a helicopter dropping water, they were able to bring the fire under control after roughly an hour and prevent further spread from house to house, but fires inside the houses took an additional three hours.
Multiple structures were burning at Stuart and McKenzie drives, according to police. Fourteen homes have been damaged, and 20 homes were evacuated.
Petaluma fire has set up a command post on Stuart and McKenzie. Only residents that live in the evacuated area will be allowed in, police said.
Many residents were home at the time of the fire, according to firefighters.
Evacuees are temporarily gathering at a nearby shopping center, according to police. Residents and anyone looking for family members are gathering at the Safeway parking lot located at the Washington Square Shopping Center at 389 S. McDowell St., police said.
The Red Cross assisted displaced residents of the four homes that were destroyed, and PG&E is working to restore gas and electrical service to the homes that remain habitable, according to firefighters.
Petaluma -Northbound US 101 CLOSED at Lakeville Hwy due to structure and tree fires along eastside of freeway https://t.co/PwWTbleJuN
— CHP Santa Rosa (@CHPSantaRosa) September 27, 2016