A fire at a vacant building in downtown Santa Rosa early this morning was deliberately set, a Santa Rosa Fire Department battalion chief said. The fire started outside the building in a cardboard box that contained spray paint cans and other materials that were unidentifiable because they burned, Battalion Chief Mike Jones said. The one-story building, located at 1160 Fourth St. near College Avenue, was formerly occupied by the Sutter Investment Group and was vacant except for some furniture and paintings, Jones said. Firefighters arrived four minutes after the fire was reported at 2:40 a.m. and saw flames burning an exterior wall in the rear of the building, Jones said. Crews prevented the flames from reaching the inside of the building or an adjacent two-story building, Jones said. He said it is estimated that the fire caused $30,000 in damage.
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