Three families were displaced by a fire Wednesday in a three-story apartment complex on Santa Rosa Avenue, officials said.
The blaze, which started outside the first-floor apartment in the 3200 block of Santa Rosa Avenue, set off three interior sprinklers that helped contain the fire, Central Fire Authority Chief Doug Williams said.
Without the sprinklers, the fire — reported at 3:30 p.m. — likely would have been "a very devastating event," he said.
Sprinklers went off in a bedroom and two water heater closets.
Firefighters had the blaze under control in 20 minutes and most of the fire damage was to the exterior of the three apartments, Williams said. Smoke damage inside the units was extensive, he said, estimating the damage, including cleanup, at $20,000 to $30,000.
The blaze started in a ground-floor patio area, but the specific cause was still under investigation, Williams said.
The Red Cross was called in to assist the displaced families.
The Rincon Valley and Santa Rosa fire departments and Cal Fire sent four engines and a ladder truck to the blaze, located south of the Santa Rosa city limits at Bellevue Avenue.