World Series champion Jonny Gomes grew up in Petaluma, California, where wild fires are ravaging the area. The former Major Leaguer joined The Jim Rome Show Wednesday and talked about the unimaginable devastation the fires have brought to his hometown.
“I mean once you got it kick-started about a week ago it was heavy. And then it just kept pouring, it was like a war zone, just bomb after bomb after bomb,” Gomes said on CBS Sports Radio. “I mean it was a full-blown zero contained fire for like six days… I’m actually on site at Cardinal Newman High School, cruising through right now, just torched earth, torched libraries, I just left a whole neighborhood that got flattened, like 80 homes, and all is you can see is just chimneys and that’s it. I didn’t even know it was capable of doing what it did.”
The 36-year old can’t believe that the raging inferno has reduced houses and buildings to rubble.
“You stand in what was a neighborhood and now you can see a mile straight through where you couldn’t see like twenty feet,” Gomes described. “Cars flipped upside down, because their gas tank blew. Schools, you name it, I mean there’s been wild fires, of course, throughout California where a whole hillside went down, but you’re talking 170 acres of city and town that got burnt down. It’s a sight not to be seen, but this is as real as it gets right now.”
Gomes said everyone in the community was affected, with several people still missing. The former ball player said high winds moved the fires quickly, catching so many people off-guard.
“Story after story of people with third degree burns on their feet because they didn’t even have time to put shoes on in the middle of the night to run out of their house,” Gomes said. “People riding miles on bicycles with almost a tsunami of flames chasing them down the hills. And it’s crazy, you gather around and everybody was affected. People couldn’t get out of the front door, couldn’t go over the back fence, so boom they jumped in the pool, they’re sitting in the pool for four hours surrounded by flames.”
The fires have taken 42 lives at last count and have impacted thousands more. Gomes is raising money through a GoFundMe campaign to aid those affected, and you can find a link to it here.