Fire destroys vacant Santa Rosa house

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Fire caused major structural damage late Thursday to a boarded-up and vacant home in Santa Rosa known to be used by transients, Santa Rosa fire officials said.

The fire was the second at the 1-acre property since March.

A neighbor near the single-story home at 924 Frazier Ave., near Martin Luther King Jr. Park, reported smelling smoke and seeing an orange glow just before 9:20 p.m. Thursday. As firefighters headed to the area, several other neighbors began calling 911 to report the fire, Capt. Matt Dahl said.

Flames were coming through the roof and burning through plywood boards on the windows and doors of the house when firefighters arrived at 9:21 p.m. Though vacant, the house still had power, and live arcing lines prevented crews from getting into the front of the house until PG&E shut off power.

The fire spread to grass and an outbuilding. Embers shooting into the air threatened nearby homes on DeTurk Avenue until fire crews knocked the flames down, Dahl said.

Four engines, a ladder truck and 18 firefighters contained the blaze within about 45 minutes. Once they got inside, they found a sleeping bag on a couch and other evidence that suggested a person or people had been squatting there at some point, Dahl said.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

On March 23, firefighters put out a smoldering fire on the floor of the outbuilding at the Frazier Avenue property. It appeared people had been camping out in the building, but investigators were unable to determine what started that fire, Dahl said.

The owner of the property, Bradley Welch, couldn’t immediately be reached.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or On Twitter @jjreport.

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