Mill Valley fire chief loses home in Santa Rosa wildfires

Mill Valley Fire Chief Tom Welch lost his home in the Santa Rosa wildfires. Oct. 9, 2017 Photo: YouCaring

The blaze sweeping through the North Bay has claimed an estimated 2,000 homes, including the home of a local fire chief.

Mill Valley Fire Chief Tom Welch, resident of Santa Rosa, lost his home Monday in the Tubbs Fire that consumed the Coffey Park neighborhood where his house once stood, according to a fundraising page set up for him.

Welch is one of at least half a dozen crew members of the Mill Valley Fire Department, who are actively helping the community with firefighting and evacuations, even though their homes are gone.  

After hearing the news, the Visitor Center’s blog Mill Valley city officials set up at YouCaring site to raise money for the Welch family and other Mill Valley staff impacted by the fires.

Community members have been showing their appreciation for the fire department with donations.

“We are so grateful for all of you who help every day to make Mill Valley the special place it is. We are thinking and praying for all of you so affected  by these fires. We are all in this together,” Sara Barnes wrote on the fundraising page after she donated $100. 

As of early Tuesday afternoon,  almost $51,000 has been raised toward the $100,000 fundraising goal.