s
s
Sections
Search
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Login

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

LoginSubscribe

It was the banging about 7:30 a.m. Sunday that caught the on-duty engineer’s attention and drew him to a rear window of the Hopland fire station on Feliz Creek Road.

Outside, a woman with an aluminum bat was whacking two vehicles in the parking lot, smashing windows, mirrors and lights, and puncturing all the tires.

Battalion Chief Ron Roysum, who watched a video of the incident, said the woman then got into her vehicle, drove to the front of the station and shattered two windows of the station’s training room before fleeing.

Rachael Seivertson, 29, a former Hopland volunteer firefighter, was arrested late Sunday afternoon by Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies, suspected of felony vandalism, assault on a deputy, evading arrest and violating her probation. On Monday she remained in custody, held without bail.

It’s been about eight years since Seivertson volunteered in Hopland. Fire officials Monday praised her efforts and abilities, saying they knew of no issues between her and the department. After leaving Hopland, she’d worked a couple of seasons for Cal Fire but left the state agency about six years ago, officials said.

“We’re all still in shock. We don’t know what set her off,” Hopland Fire Chief Mitch Franklin said. “It’s devastating what she did to our fire house and our vehicles. We use them all the time. It’s a huge hit for us.”

The Hopland vandalism is the second such crime in days. Law officials also are investigating a similar case from last week at the Cal Fire Hopland station. Two personal vehicles belonging to firefighters had smashed windows and slashed tires, according to Cal Fire.

“We’re unsure if it’s related, except it’s the same M.O.,” Franklin said.

Fire officials said Seiverston’s assault was seen by at least three people and caught on surveillance video. In addition to the engineer, two people at a nearby gas station who walked over to see what was happening saw Seiverston, Franklin said. Deputies were called and Franklin also responded, arriving to see the woman driving away. He followed her for miles out Feliz Creek Road to a house, where he was joined by several deputies.

The woman ran from the house, heading down a creek bed before racing up steep hillsides, Franklin said. Five deputies, three Hopland firefighters and a Cal Fire firefighter chased after her for a few hours, unsuccessfully searching the area.

“She gave us all a good run,” Franklin said.

Hours later, deputies learned the woman was back at the house where she’d reportedly barricaded herself in the attic, according to the chief, who said she’d swung at a deputy with a crowbar during her arrest.

Hopland now needs to find at least $20,000 in replacement costs for the damaged parts of the Dodge Ram and Ford Expedition, the chief said, but that would be much higher if the vehicles need replacing.

Roysum said the department was “cash-strapped” and would have to use money slated for training and gear for truck repairs instead.

Firefighters still can respond to calls with department fire engines. But the trucks, which carry a variety of equipment, typically are used by volunteers not yet trained to drive fire engines. First-arriving volunteers head out on the engines and others come to the station for gear and take the utility trucks.

Without them, volunteers have to use their own vehicles for calls. Hopland has 14 volunteers and two paid firefighters, including the chief. In 2017 the department ran 330 calls and sent an engine on numerous strike teams totaling 65 days out of their jurisdiction.

“It’s not just a shot to us, but the entire community,” Roysum said. “We’re a volunteer department and we’re what the community needs to take care of fire safety.”

Show Comment