Heating for a chicken coop likely started Sunday morning’s fire at Larkfield home, killing eight chicks and displacing the family of four, according to a Sonoma County Fire spokeswoman.
The sound of crackling in the attic awakened Blair Benson just before 7:30 a.m. and he found their Sussex Drive house on fire. He woke up his wife, Alicia, their son and daughter, got them out and tried to douse the flames with a hose, suffering burned feet and smoke inhalation, said Cyndi Foreman, public information officer for the fire district.
Damage was estimated at $100,000, mainly from where the flames burned up the back of the house and into the attic, but there was smoke and heat damage inside.
Collectibles stored in the attic were lost, including baseball cards. Firefighters were able to remove some personal items from the house and covered many belongings, protecting them, Foreman said.
An investigation couldn’t positively identify the fire’s cause but it started in the area of the chicken coop, just outside the back of the home, and the heat lamp was a probable source. “They obviously had a heat lamp in there to keep them warm. Somehow either that got bumped or jarred,” said Foreman.
Sussex Drive is off Old Redwood Highway, in northern Santa Rosa’s Larkfield neighborhood — one of the worst hit areas from the catastrophic 2017 Tubbs fire. Then, the fire was stopped a few streets away and this house was in one of the few Larkfield areas that avoided destruction.
“They dodged a bullet in 2017. But the home is very salvageable,” Foreman said.
The family was planning to stay with relatives.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@rossmannreport.