Fire damages Victorian home in SRJC neighborhood

  • Santa Rosa firefighters conduct rooftop operations during a structure fire in a three-story house on Slater Street in Santa Rosa, Calif., on January 7, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Fire broke out in a three-story Victorian house in the Santa Rosa Junior College neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, leading fire officials to strike a second alarm and bring in additional help.

Flames ripped through the roof of the 4,000-square-foot home on the 800 block of Slater Street as black smoke poured into the sky, visible for miles.

Homeowner Bonnie Caetano said she and her daughter-in-law, April Caetano, were eating lunch when they heard a thud upstairs.

When April Caetano went to investigate, she found the fire and yelled for Bonnie to call 911.

The pair hustled three dogs out of the house as firefighters raced to the scene. The first engine arrived from the Sonoma Avenue station at 1:38 p.m., five minutes after the initial call for help, according to county emergency fire dispatch records.

The second alarm brought more Santa Rosa firefighters from around the city and a truck from Rincon Valley fire.

Firefighters used a ladder truck and a back stairwell of the home to reach the roof. Once there, they had a challenging time breaking through two layers of roofing to release built-up heat, Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Mike Jones said.

He said firefighters were concerned about the blaze spreading to other structures in the neighborhood of tightly packed homes. The fire was contained in about 10 minutes, he said.

Bonnie Caetano said the area where the fire broke out was formerly a kitchen that her son, Cristian, used sporadically to cut people's hair.

He and April live at the home, as does a tenant who lives in a downstairs apartment, Bonnie said.

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