Request #19-799

Re: Santa Rosa Fire Department AND Santa Rosa Police Department records regarding fire Oct 30, 1980, at Santa Rosa Air Center


Dear FOI officers,
This is a request under the United States Freedom oflnformation Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552 and the California Public Records Act, Govt. Code§ 6250 et. seq.


I am a journalist and author, formerly with the Los Angeles Times (2007-2012) and currently independent. I write nonfiction books, most recently The Deer Camp (2019), Operation Bite Back (2009) and Burning Rainbow Farm (2006), all published by Bloomsbury. I am at work on a book about radicalism in the Bay Area.


I am requesting all files regarding a fire in the hangars at the Santa Rosa Air Center on the night of Oct 30 and morning of Oct 31, 1980. Published accounts report that on the night of Oct 30, 1980, one of the hangars burned. An incendiary device or multiple devices were found at the site, indicating possible arson. Former manager Bob Williams was quoted in news publications saying that a flight instructor who was staying in a camper on the site woke up with his camper in flames and barely escaped with his life.

The files are most likely with the Santa Rosa Fire Department. There may also be a Santa Rosa Police Department investigation of the fire because of the threat to the flight instructor. I would like to check both departments, please.

The Air Center was closed to air traffic in 1992 and I understand it has now been developed for businesses and houses.

Please let me know if there is another agency or department, such as a county Sheriff's office or other agency, that would have investigated this fire or would have records pertaining to it.

I request that a copy of the following documents [or documents containing the following
information] be provided to me:

1. All files pertaining to a Santa Rosa Fire Department investigation of the hangar fire at Santa Rosa Air Center, Oct 30 and 31, 1980.

2. All files pertaining to a Santa Rosa Police Department investigation of the hangar fire at Santa Rosa Air Center, Oct 30 and 31, 1980.

3. All files pertaining to witnesses or possible suspects named and/or interviewed regarding the fire(s). For instance, the flight instructor whose camper was burned and others.

4. Names of investigating officers from the Santa Rosa Fire Department and the Santa Rosa Police Department.

In order to help determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am a representative of the news media and this request is made as part of news gathering and not for a commercial use. I am aware that I am entitled to make this request under the Freedom of lnformation Act, and if your agency response is not satisfactory, I am prepared to make an administrative appeal. Please indicate to me the name of the official to whom such an appeal should be addressed. I am aware that if my request is denied I am entitled to know the grounds for this denial.

I am aware that while the law allows your agency to withhold specified categories of exempted information, you are required by law to release any segregable portions that are left after the exempted material has been deleted from the data I am seeking. 

I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government, and is not primarily in my commercial interest, nor a business trying to get information on industrial competitors.

If, however, your office determines that fees are due for copying, etc., I need to pre·approve these fees - BY TELEPHONE. (I understand that sometimes investigation files may be quite large.) Because subsequent requesters may also want copies of these documents, I do not consider it fair that I should bear the full cost of the search for this material.


October 18, 2019 via mail






Point of Contact

City Clerk

Request Closed   Hide Public

We do not have the records you requested. The address you supplied (3840 Finley) was not annexed into the City of Santa Rosa until 1997. We suggest you submit a public records request to the County or government entity that had jurisdiction of that address at that time. Thank you.

October 21, 2019, 4:58pm
Request Published Public
October 21, 2019, 4:58pm
Request Opened Public
Request received via mail
October 18, 2019, 5:12pm