A giant plume of black smoke off Mountainview Road about a mile from the Anderson Valley High School brought alarmed residents of Boonville out of their dinner hour homes minutes before 7pm Monday evening.
As at least four fire trucks raced up the winding road past the high school, locals stood in front of their homes speculating as to whose property had gone up in flames, the black smoke indicating a house fire in the immediate vicinity of the Boonville Dump. A firefighting dozer was posted near the high school tennis courts, standing by if the fire spread into the adjacent woods. In the warm, still and muggy evening air, already smoke-laden from fires burning to the south and east of Mendocino County, and people on edge from the summer's terrible events, locals were reassured by the prompt turnout of firefighters and three Sheriff's vehicles.
Reliable sources placed the address as the property directly across the road from the Boonville Transfer Station occupied for many years by Bill and Wanda Owens and family. Terrible first reports from neighbors say a wheelchair-bound woman may have died in the blaze, which destroyed two small trailers, one of which she occupied. There is no confirmation this evening about any deaths or injuries. The fire was reduced to a smoldering heap of twisted metal by 8pm.