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Smoky Santa Rosa fire destroys homeless camp

A fire that produced smoke visible throughout Santa Rosa on Monday started at a homeless camp, according to a fire official.

The blaze, reported just before 11 a.m., burned on a small city-owned parcel along Stony Point Road near Mesa Way in southwest Santa Rosa. It was doused by firefighters before it spread to nearby homes.

There was “a large, black column of smoke showing all over Santa Rosa,” said Paul Lowenthal, the city’s division chief fire marshal.

Santa Rosa firefighters put the blaze out within minutes, according to Lowenthal. He said it grew to about 40 feet by 7 feet and destroyed the one tent at the camp.

A firefighter got a minor injury while working the blaze, Lowenthal said.

Firefighters saw somebody running away from the site of the fire, but authorities were unable to find that person, according to Lowenthal.

Inspectors couldn’t determine the cause of the fire because the area was heavily damaged, but they pinpointed its origin to the camp, Lowenthal said.

You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at matthew.pera@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.

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