SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — The bravery of first responders was cemented into most Americans’ minds during those dark hours of 9/11, but each year across the country tales of courage and fearlessness emerge that once again reinforce that image.

Over the last week, it has been the remarkable efforts of firefighters, police, California Highway Patrol officers and sheriff’s deputies to save lives at the risk of losing their own during the deadliest outbreak of wildfires in California history.

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The death toll stood at 40 early Monday, but without the bravery of first responders it would have been exponentially higher.

Two stunning videos have been released showing what first responders faced in the early hours of the Tubbs fire as it turned homes and buildings in Santa Rosa into fiery infernos.


Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano released body cam footage from sheriff’s deputy Sgt. Brandon Cutting which showed frantic moments during Oct. 8th’s evacuations as a fatal firestorm roared into residential neighborhood.

The footage shows the deputy conducting door-to-door evacuations and rescue in the Mark West Road area of Santa Rosa.


“I think it really tells the story of how dangerous and how difficult the event was,” Giordano said at a press conference.

“It’s absolutely human and it’s very real and very honest and transparent,” Giordano said.

“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!” the deputy yells at one point to drivers who are hesitating and moving slowly as they flee along Mark West Springs Road.

The deputy, wheezing and coughing, runs to several doors shouting “sheriff’s office!” for anyone who may be in earshot.

As Sgt. Cutting staggers through the hot winds he can be heard coughing from the thick smoke.

He then comes across another deputy with a woman in a wheelchair right next to a house that is burning and lifts her into an SUV to take her away.

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Back in his car, he appears to drive straight through the flames at one point as he tries to help evacuees to safety.

The Berkeley Fire Department answered the frantic for mutual aid during the early morning hours of Oct. 9th.


Arriving in Santa Rosa before sunrise, the audio recording accompanying the video showed the firefighters were stunned to see the scope of the massive Tubbs Fire.

In an interview with Berkeleyside, firefighter Mike Shuken said the department did not “typically video our responses.”

“This was so big and unprecedented that we did this time,” he told the website.

Told help save the Santa Rosa Kmart, the firefighters arrived to find the store and a near by gas station a massive ball of lames.

“Wow, those are coming out of the structures,” one firefighter says of the flames. “Oh my god.”

A few seconds later, someone says, “It’s starting to smell like houses burning.”

The Petaluma Fire Department also released a video of the intense flames. The camera was in Engine 9384 and all around the firefighters were houses on fire.

The firefighters were inside Coffey Park early on when the fire first moved into the neighborhood, according to the department’s Facebook page.

The engine company was eventually pushed out and over ran by fire.

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The crew went on and along with Santa Rosa Fire and Windsor Fire were successfully able to protect and save over 20 homes on Banyan Street, San Miguel and Holley Park area.