By Andrea Nakano

PETALUMA (CBS SF) — A fire destroyed a home and horse boarding facility in Penngrove, just north of Petaluma, prompting evacuations. Towering flames engulfed the large house in the 400 block of Ormsby Lane and damaged nearby structures.

Firefighters got the call about the blaze just after one in the afternoon. They say luckily crews were in the area and responded quickly. Still, the fire grew to roughly 15 acres.

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Judy Cruchom, the mother of the property owner, lives just a few houses away. She could see the black smoke billowing up into the air from her daughter’s home.

“I called her and she already knew something was going on so she rushed home. She had just gone to the store,” said Cruchom.

Cruchom says her daughter operated a horse boarding business and this home was a place filled with fond memories. She says most of the family photos were stored at the home and it was where they held many memorable gatherings.

“It’s a wonderful house,” said Cruchom. “So many good times here. They’re supposed to have a wedding here in the backyard in May. That’s not going to happen. No, that’s not going to happen.”

Neighbors were given orders to evacuate as firefighters tried to contain the flames but many decided to stay. Roughly 200 firefighters responded, including air resources from Cal Fire that dropped fire retardant to protect nearby houses.

“Thankfully we had crews in the area and we were able to respond quickly, and thankful we had lots of crews to respond as well when we called upon them,” said Petaluma Fire Marshal Jessica Power.

“Without the air support, this fire could’ve been much worse,” said Petaluma Fire Department Marshal Jessica Power

Lily Compton, a neighbor says, “I was in there taking a nap and I heard the horses say ‘neigh neigh.’ I guess the horses knew something was going on.”

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Firefighters were able to rescue all the dogs but there is a cat and a turtle missing. One firefighter was injured but he is expected to be ok.

Video showed a home gutted by the fire and spot fires scorching grasses and structures in the surrounding area.

The evacuation order covered residents living north of Corona Road, south of Old Redwood Highway, east of Petaluma city limits and west of Adobe Road.

As of 3:40 p.m., the evacuation order had been lifted and residents were able to return to their homes. Police said first responders were still on the scene in evacuated fire areas located on Ely and Corona Roads.


Raw Video: Penngrove House Fire Spreads to Surrounding Area

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) said service was briefly interrupted because of the fire and a bus bridge was established to carry southbound and northbound passengers between the Cotati & Petaluma stations.

The cause is still under investigation.

Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.

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