The Santa Rosa Fire Department is investigating a fire in an abandoned building near the Cathedral of St. Eugene early Monday morning and said there are indications transients had been occupying the building.

The fire at 2323 Montgomery Drive was reported at 4:52 a.m. and had burned from the interior through the roof of the building when firefighters arrived less than five minutes later, Battalion Chief Matt Dahl said.

All the windows and doors were boarded closed and secured, and no one was found in the building. Firefighters used power tools to remove plywood from window openings and forced open doors to get to the bulk of the fire, Dahl said.

Firefighters extinguished the fire from outside the structure until it was safe to enter and search for occupants, he said. The fire was under control in less than two hours.

City personnel with construction equipment knocked down hazardous sections of the building to ensure the fire was completely extinguished, and damage is estimated at $400,000, Dahl said.

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