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Fire consumes two residences at west Santa Rosa apartment complex

Flames engulfed half of a four-unit block of apartments at a large west Santa Rosa complex late Thursday afternoon, causing extensive damage to two homes but no injuries.?At 4:38 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to the blaze in a two-story building at the Alexandar Apartments complex, formerly the Maribelle Apartments, near Dutton Avenue and West 3rd Street, according to Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Ken Sebastiani. The fire was extinguished by about 5 p.m., Sebastiani said.

The cause remains under investigation, but firefighters believe it was an exterior blaze that began at one of the lower homes of a four-unit block in the complex, where units are arranged in clusters. The fire apparently spread inside, causing heavy damage to the initial unit and its upstairs neighbor, Sebastiani said.

Isabella Sakren, 26, whose one-bedroom upstairs apartment is part of the four-unit block where the fire occurred, said she was on the outdoor patio when she “smelled burning rubber.” Sakren looked down and saw what appeared to be a fire on the patio of one of the downstairs apartments.?“I ran downstairs, I saw a bunch of smoke and I heard popping, so I started banging on their door,” Sakren said.

No one answered, so Sakren entered the unlocked unit, fearing for the safety of a kitten she knew was inside. Once she entered the home, Sakren said she “started yelling for anybody” and, hearing no responses, grabbed the kitten and brought it to safety.

Sakren also rescued her own cat, Jax.

Firefighters believe Sakren, who called 911 to report the fire, may have been the only occupant of the four-unit cluster home at the time, according to Sebastiani. Residents said the upstairs neighbor whose unit also burned had four cats, and firefighters were still working to determine their status Thursday afternoon, Sebastiani said.

Sakren’s boyfriend, Sean Tate, 35, said the couple were planning to move out of their unit and into a two-bedroom home at the same complex as soon as today. They already had keys and were in the process of packing up their belongings.

More than 30 firefighters from Santa Rosa and Rincon Valley responded to the scene, Sebastiani said.

You can reach Staff Writer J.D. Morris at 707-521-5337 or jd.morris@pressdemocrat.com.

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