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Fire damages century-old Santa Rosa farmhouse

  • Rincon Valley firefighters from left, Steve Humes, Shawn Johnson, Nate DeJung and Mark Dunn start their investigation at a fire that burned the backside of a home on Bellvue Ave. in Santa Rosa, Monday Dec. 9, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

A loud popping noise and the smell of smoke Monday morning awoke Diane and John Green, who bolted from their bed in the century old farmhouse on Bellevue Avenue in Santa Rosa.

The house was on fire.

The couple ran downstairs and outside. Without her cellphone, Diane Green began flagging down drivers.

"I ran out in the road, nobody was stopping . . . until the fourth car. They probably thought I was nuts, in my pj's," she said.

Her husband headed for the garden hose, but found it frozen from the extreme cold.

At 8:16 a.m., a 911 caller reported the fire and firefighters from three agencies began rolling for the house across from the entrance to Elsie Allen High School.

Firefighters found flames and heavy smoke coming out the back of the first floor of the large, two-story home and starting to lap at the second floor.

The estimated structural damage was $75,000 to $100,000, acting Central Fire Battalion Chief Rob Bisordi said.

A family cat was saved, found by a fireman in a smoky upstairs room. The cat was carried outside and given oxygen through a mask shaped for small animals. After a dose, it jumped up and ran off, seemingly fine.

The fire appears to have started with discarded smoking materials on a shelf in a downstairs area housing a utility room and bathroom, although the cause remained under investigation, Bisordi said. Flames destroyed that area and blackened the adjacent kitchen.

Owners James and Patricia Pori live out of the area. Patricia Pori's family, the Habors, reportedly have owned the property for several decades, said her step-son James Pori.

The younger Pori also lives on the property in one of the other homes.

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