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Fire damages Petaluma home under construction

A blaze that broke out Thursday inside a three-story home under construction northwest of Petaluma could have been much worse had a sprinkler system not activated and limited the fire’s spread, a fire official said.

“Under different circumstances, it could have been a much larger fire,” said Rancho Adobe Fire Battalion Chief Mike Weihman.

The blaze at 3528 Skillman Lane was reported at about 5:55 p.m. by a neighbor who spotted smoke billowing from the unfinished house.

Weihman said the fire broke out in a first-floor room at the rear of the structure that was being used by construction workers.

The room also had an overhead fire sprinkler that activated despite being so new that it still had a dust cover over it. Weihman said water from the sprinkler doused most of the flames, greatly assisting firefighters, who brought the blaze under control within 20 minutes of their arrival on scene.

Weihman said the blaze appeared to be accidental. He said investigators were trying to determine the cause, but that they ruled out electrical equipment that was stored in the room.

Firefighters from Petaluma, Cal Fire, Wilmar and the Coast Guard station responded to the blaze.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek.

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