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Blaze at Crane Canyon dressage facility destroys barn

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 8:15 a.m.

Flames destroyed a large barn and threatened two living quarters Tuesday at Fairwind Farm, a large property off Crane Canyon Road.

Two families were displaced by the 8 p.m. blaze, but no one was hurt, including about 65 horses kept on the property. The property, a dressage training facility, is about a mile up Crane Canyon east of Petaluma Hill Road.

As rain poured down, residents, horse trainers and others huddled under trailers and watched fire crews cut holes in the barn sides to allow pent-up heat and smoke to escape.

One of the residents, Roberto Soberano, 30, smelled smoke and saw flames shooting from the adjacent barn when he stepped outside.

He got his wife and two children, ages 5 and 2, out of the home, called 911 and grabbed a hose.

"It grew very fast," Soberano said.

Brian Hafner, 24, of Rohnert Park was working at another building on the property when he was alerted to the fire. He was shocked when he went to look.

"It was a blaze," said Hafner, who trains in dressage.

Bennett Valley Chief Darrin DeCarli said firefighters found heavy fire in the center of the barn. "The roof was probably half-involved," DeCarli said.

Fire crews split, with some protecting the residential units and others launching an exterior fire fight at the two-story barn.

Soberano stood in the rain watching fire crews work.

Soberano said he didn't know how much of his family's belongings were destroyed.

"I feel so sad," he said.

The property owner, standing nearby, said she was just relieved no one was hurt.

The fire chief said they kept the fire from spreading to the living quarters, though there may be some water damage.

Rancho Adobe, Gold Ridge, Santa Rosa, Wilmar and Rincon Valley firefighters joined in the effort. DeCarli said they would remain on the property through the night.

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