FRESNO, Calif. - A fire that ripped through multiple businesses on Monday night in Northeast Fresno. It all happened just south of Fashion Fair Mall near First and Gettysburg. The two-alarm fire took place around 6:30pm. It destroyed a dentist office and a French community organization. No one was seriously injured, but now fire investigators are figuring out how the fire began.
Fresno Fire said the origin of the fire and the cause is still under investigation. They said the damage estimate on the entire building is still pending.
Scott Donaghe is the President of the non-profit organization Alliance Francaise de Fresno. The headquarters were burned down to the ground.
He said, "After many many years of dreaming of an office of a place where we could have a cultural center, the organization built up enough funds to actually make that venture. And so everything we had literally everything was stored there."
Donaghe said he has no idea how the fire could have started. His French organization only had books and office supplies inside. We're told his neighbor was a business called Dental Spa on First. Our calls to the dentist were not returned.
"I was devastated like the rest of us are and shocked, and I didn't really believe it was our corner of the office," stated Donaghe.
Fresno Fire said it took 38 firefighters to tackle the blaze that burned for nearly an hour and fifteen minutes. One firefighter suffered a minor injury to the hand.
Debra Fernando works just a few doors down. She said the flames were massive and the smoke was heavy.
Fernando commented, "I just thought, all those people coming to work today with no jobs and it's Christmas they got families and I just thought it was all very sad."
Donaghe said he's just grateful everyone got out safe, and now his focus is on rebuilding.
"It gives you an opportunity to re-asess where you've been, and where you're going. And I do believe this is our moment to rise literally from ashes," ended Donaghe.
If you would like to help Alliance Francaise de Fresno with their rebuilding, click here.