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Fire destroys Sonoma home, garage, 6 cars

An early-morning fire almost completely engulfed a suburban Sonoma home Monday morning, calling out nine fire department vehicles and involving 31 responding personnel. Fortunately nobody was injured despite the early hour.

The fire, in the 400 block of Chestnut Avenue, fully engulfed a single family dwelling on the remote road off Mountain Avenue. The carport was also destroyed, along with the six vehicles within. Total damage was officially estimated at over $100,000, though unofficial estimates rose as high as $500,00.

Downed power lines and a break in the home's gas line added to the complexity of the firefight, Spencer Andreis of Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue 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.

The investigation is in progress, according to Andreis.

This is the second house fire in the Boyes Hot Springs community in the last month. The first was on Verde Vista Drive and destroyed the second floor.

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