Fire damages 2 homes in Windsor, one extensively

Three people safely evacuated the homes burned by what began as a debris fire.|

Two homes in Windsor were damaged, one extensively, after a fire that started between them spread Tuesday afternoon, a Sonoma County Fire District official said. The second home suffered moderate damage.

No one was injured, and three residents of the two-story homes were evacuated safely. On Tuesday afternoon, the northwest side of the home where the fire originated was burning and flames were shooting out of the attic. Fire extinguisher fluid ran down one of the two chimneys.

John LaCave, who lives in the Pistachio Place house with the most damage and was standing across the street watching firefighters battle the blaze, said he was at work when his daughter-in-law, Laura, smelled smoke, heard a noise and saw fire outside the window. His wife, Donna, called Sonoma County Fire, which has a station nearby, and the two women evacuated, along with three dogs and a cat.

LaCave said he had stored “paint cans, gas cans and a propane tank out there, so I think that’s what happened.” No official cause has been identified by fire officials.

A visibly upset Donna LaCave, a first-grade teacher, said the family had lived in the home for 23 years. She said she was grateful for the help from friends and family.

“The neighbors are being very supportive,” she said.

Sonoma County Fire Division Chief Fire Marshal Cyndi Foreman called the blaze “accidental,” and said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Sonoma County Fire personnel were alerted about 3:05 p.m. to a debris fire on the short residential street off Hembree Lane and south of Foothill Regional Park in east Windsor. En route, they saw a black column of smoke and upgraded from a one-alarm to a two-alarm structure fire, which is more serious, Foreman said.

Next-door resident Bill Loughner, a Keysight engineer, said he was in a virtual meeting from 2 to 3 p.m. at home. He came downstairs and saw the fence burning between the two houses.

“I found the dog, and tried to find the cats and got out,” he said. A firefighter later said he saw the two cats escape. Loughner and his wife, Tami, and son Luke, 20, standing nearby, were told Tuesday that most of the damage was confined to the attic and the garage.

The two families declined Red Cross help and said they would probably stay with friends.

Officials had the fire under control by about 4:30 p.m. Ten county fire units and engines from Windsor, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg and Forestville responded, as well as Pacific Gas & Electric and the Windsor Police Department, Foreman said.

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at

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