Fire damages Santa Rosa warehouse

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Flames engulfed a West End warehouse Wednesday night, heavily damaging the structure.

Dispatchers got the fire report shortly after 8 p.m., and crews arrived to find smoke pouring out the back of the North Bay Restaurant Service warehouse at 437 West 9th St.

Firefighters used metal cutting saws to get into the 100-foot-long Quonset-hut style building, and discovered a fire in the rear of the structure.

The fire was threatening a vacuum tanker truck next to the building. The business pumps out grease traps across the region, according to owner Ken Bailey, who surveyed the damage to his building and equipment Thursday morning.

“It’s gonna hurt,” Bailey said as he and employees tried to salvage what they could from the building, where they maintained the business’ fleet of pumper trucks.

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The fire is just two blocks from where a Railroad Square warehouse burned last week. There were reports that fire may have been started by transients trying to keep warm, but there are no such suspicions in this case, said Paul Lowenthal, assistant fire marshal.

The latest fire appears to have originated in a pile of dirty rags used in the maintenance of equipment, Lowenthal said.

Oily rags can spontaneously combust if they are improperly stored. Some oils oxidize as they dry, creating heat that can build up and lead to ignition, Lowenthal said.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control in about half an hour. West Ninth Street was shut down for about two hours.

The fire was mostly contained to the rear of the building, but smoke and heat caused damage throughout the building, which suffered about $100,000 in damage.

Bailey said his focus now is to get the shop up and running again and continue serving his customers.

“We’ll be all right. Nobody got hurt,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 707-521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @srcitybeat.

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