When the outbreak occurred, the city quickly fell into chaos, with many people either dying outright or becoming infected. While fleeing into the city, Joel, Tommy and Sarah noticed a barn on fire. Tommy and Joel briefly remarked that it was owned by a man called Louis, the pair hoping he made it out alive.
Once they reached the city, the highway was blocked by dozens of cars, though the surface streets within the city were filled with men and women running for their lives. When the three crashed their truck, they fled through the streets on foot. They escaped most of the devastation through an alleyway, although Sarah and Joel became separated from Tommy due to several Infected.
When Joel and Sarah reached the highway, they were stopped by a soldier, who shot at them. Despite Tommy arriving and killing the soldier, Sarah was mortally wounded and bled out in her father's arms.
Years later, Tommy returned to the city and found Joel's old house, the city likely deserted, He claimed there wasn't much left, but he did manage to salvage a photo.
Joel and Sarah's house was a short journey from the main city. There was plenty of grassland and even a farm in the area.
The main city had hotels, gas stations, and several bars. There was also a hospital located next to the main 71 highway. There was also a police station in the area, big enough to house at least six police cars. Given how quickly police cars reached Joel's house, the station may have been near them.