Fire damages house near Occidental

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A swarm of Sonoma County firefighters rushed to put out a house fire southeast of Occidental early Friday morning that spread to nearby grass and brush on the property.

Dispatchers learned of the blaze about 4:36 a.m., when a driver called to report a column of smoke and flames at the 11000 block of Bodega Highway, Redcom supervisor Bob Stratton said.

Firefighters were sent to the area and found the single-story home in flames, along with residents who told them no one remained inside, Gold Ridge Fire Chief Shepley Schroth-Cary said.

Cal Fire, the Gold Ridge Fire Protection District and fire departments from Occidental and Sebastopol were among the units tapped to fight the fire, which was halted before it spread to neighboring lots, Schroth-Cary said. The flames were under control in about an hour, though crews stayed on the property for several hours Friday to fully extinguish the blaze. Bodega Highway was closed for several hours, Schroth-Cary said.

Schroth-Cary did not have an estimate of the damages cause by the fire, which took down several walls and charred much of the home. While there was evidence of marijuana cultivation and processing, the home was primarily used as a residence for three people, he added. County staff was called to determine if marijuana growing was permitted, Schroth-Cary said.

The cause and origin of the fire was under investigation, Schroth-Cary said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com.

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