Fire damages warehouse near Santa Rosa's Railroad Square

Transients may be to blame for an early Wednesday blaze that caused an estimated $450,000 in damage to a warehouse in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square, fire officials say.|

An early morning fire Wednesday caused heavy damage to a warehouse near Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square.

The four-alarm fire, reported around 2:10 a.m., sent flames shooting through the night sky at the warehouse off Wilson Street, between Eighth and Ninth streets.

The cause remained under investigation, but officials said the fire appeared to have started in a detached structure to the west of the warehouse, next to the railroad tracks, and close to the location of two recent fires that may have been sparked by transients trying to warm themselves.

It took firefighters about 90 minutes to get an upper hand on the fire, which caused an estimated $450,000 in damage.

Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal said the building, known as the Wright Brothers warehouse, had storage for a nearby furniture business and Copperfield Books.

The book area, which was separated by a wall, was saved from flames but damaged by smoke, he said.

“The rest of the structure and structures were heavily damages and or destroyed,” he said, adding the rain and cold may have helped put a damper on the blaze.

Copperfield’s General Manager Mimi Figlin issued a statement saying their storage facility sustained minimal damage “thanks to the efforts of the Santa Rosa Fire Department.”

Lowenthal said there were no injuries, but a couple of parked box trucks also caught fire.

Fire officials were comparing videos taken by witnesses with physical evidence to try and confirm the fire’s origin.

But Lowenthal said there were reports of transients who previously accessed the area where it appears the fire started.

A couple months ago there was a pile of debris that burned nearby. Then, last week, a burned table was found in the same vicinity.

Thirteen fire engines and three ladder trucks responded Wednesday. Santa Rosa firefighters were assisted by Bennett Valley, Rincon Valley and Windsor fire departments.

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 707-521-5214 or On Twitter@clarkmas.

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