Sonoma factory fire losses could hit $2 million

Ed and Karen Brown said they had discussed taking a trip to Bodega Bay in their 30-foot RV before being summoned to Sonoma on Monday to survey damage to the vehicle, which was pushed out of the way Sunday by a firefighter operating a bulldozer.

"What do we do now?" Karen Brown said. "It's a wait-and-see."

McCaffrey said he had complained to Sonoma Pacific's owners about employees stacking pallets behind his property.

Sonoma Fire Aftermath


"I said, 'If you ever have a fire, you're going to burn me out.' They didn't care," McCaffrey said.

The 20-acre vacant field and 7-acre parcel leased by the pallet company comprise the Sonoma Valley Business Park. Both sites are owned by different groups of investors and managed by Odyssey Development Co. in Santa Rosa, according to manager Rick Deringer.

Deringer said McCaffrey never complained to him directly about the pallets. However, Deringer said he'd noticed them on his own and had previously scheduled a meeting for today with Todd Stevens, Pacific's Texas owner, to demand the stacks be moved.

Deringer called it a matter of "bad timing" that today's scheduled meeting didn't happen sooner.

McCaffrey complained that nobody had mowed the weeds in the vacant field, which provided additional fuel for Sunday's blaze.

Deringer responded by saying that various state and federal agencies that have jurisdiction over the property have prevented him from mowing.

The flames were fanned by wind gusts of up to 15 mph. Temperatures above 90 degrees and low humidity didn't help.

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