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Fire destroys Sonoma Valley home

A two-alarm fire destroyed a Sonoma Valley home early Monday causing about $500,000 damage, according to Sonoma Valley fire officials.

The blaze burned a two-story residence, a carport and six vehicles on rural Chestnut Avenue in the hills above Boyes Hot Springs.

Fire crews were called at 1:30 a.m. and the Agua Caliente station engine arrived first to find flames burning throughout the home, Sonoma Valley fire Battalion Chief Spencer Andreis said Monday.

Downed power lines and a break in the home’s gas line added to the complexity of the firefight, Andreis said.

Three residents discovered the fire when windows in the first floor exploded from the heat. They were able to get out safely from the upstairs bedrooms using an upper level deck and stairs.

The home is owned by Elanor Cuevas. There are two other nearby structures on the property and eight people in those dwellings were evacuated as a precaution, Andreis said.

While the power wires were dealt with quickly, PG&E had a tougher time with the gas leak, causing the evacuation of several neighboring residences as a precaution.

Firefighters had the fire under control by 2:30 a.m. But hot spot mop up work had to wait some five hours while a utility company crew could arrive on the holiday and fix the gas leak.

Once the line was capped, crews then finished the job, not leaving the scene until about 9 a.m.

Thirty-one firefighters and nine engines from Sonoma Valley, Glen Ellen, Schell-Vista and Cal Fire fire agencies responded.

An initial investigation indicated the fire started on the first floor, but fire officials Monday were starting the process of sifting through the large amount of blackened debris for signs of the cause.

This is the fifth house fire in the Sonoma Valley since early May and the second in the Boyes Hot Springs community. The first was on Verde Vista Drive and destroyed the second floor. Last week a $1 million vacation home burned in the Diamond A neighborhood in the hills above Arnold Drive.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707-521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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