Paul’s Resort burns
Thirty-two firefighters from three departments battled a blaze at Paul’s Resort on Verano Avenue for more than three hours Thursday morning.
Photos by Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune
One of old Sonoma’s iconic buildings is no more.
Paul’s Resort, the 105-year-old building on West Verano Avenue, caught fire early Thursday morning and was destroyed. Thursday afternoon, as fire investigators were on scene trying to determine the cause of the blaze, all that was left was most of the south and west walls.
Spencer Andreis, a division chief with the Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority, said the call came in at about 2:40 a.m., and when the first units arrived on scene, they found the structure fully engulfed in flames.
“We know where it started, we just don’t know how,” he said.
Andreis said he expected fire investigators to be at the scene through most of Thursday.
The fire started in the front of the long-vacant building and spread when it reached the attic.
“Once it reached the attic, it had the run of the building,” Andreis said.
The first alarm came in at 2:40 a.m. and the building was fully engulfed when the first units got on scene
Sonoma kept calling for more staffing. All Sonoma Valley units were at the scene, along with an engine from Schell-Vista and Glen Ellen, while mutual aid calls went out to Kenwood and Santa Rosa for station coverage.
“There was a lot of virgin redwood in the building,” Andreis said. “There’s a lot of history in the building.”
The building was originally owned by Paul Vannucchi, who ran it until he died in the 1940s. It was then purchased by Paul Marcucci, who ran it until he died in 1981, and it is still owned by Marcucci’s daughter, Yvonne Thibault. (See related story at right.)
Firefighters battled the blaze for more than three hours before it was brought under control shortly before 5 a.m.
“It’s a total loss,” Andreis said. “I’d probably put a dollar value on the building at about $200,000, but as far as historical value and contents, it’s priceless. You just can’t put a price on it.”
Andreis said the building has been vacant for at least 20 years and probably a lot longer.
During the blaze, one fire official said that it wasn’t a question of if, but a question of when the 10,000-square-foot wood-structure would burn.
At the height of the fire, 32 firefighters were involved in trying to put the blaze out.
Even though the fire was under control shortly before 6 a.m., firefighters spent almost six more hours mopping up and putting out hotspots.