Fire Chief Loses Santa Rosa Home as He Battles Raging Wildfires in Northern California

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Tom Welch has been fighting fires for more than 10 years.

He’s battled blazes as an engineer paramedic, a fire captain, a fire marshal and a battalion chief.

Fire Chief Tom Welch and his family are seen in a photo posted to the Mill Valley Fire Department's website.
Fire Chief Tom Welch and his family are seen in a photo posted to the Mill Valley Fire Department’s website.

But none may have been as challenging as what he’s going through this week:

Welch, now the fire chief of the Mill Valley Fire Department, is coordinating his department’s response to the wildfires blazing through Northern California — even as the flames have laid waste to his own home.

In a statement on its website, the city of Mill Valley said Welch — a Santa Rosa resident — lost his home to the Sonoma and Napa fires.

His family is safe, the city said.

Mill Valley has set up a “YouCaring” site to help the fire chief and other affected families. The campaign has raised more than $36,000 already.

Over a dozen wildfires continue to scorch Northern California leaving more than 100,000 acres burned and over 1,500 homes and businesses destroyed.

Seven of the 11 people reported dead are from Santa Rosa.


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