A massive fire ripped through a Madera shopping center Monday. It destroyed businesses, and gutted the historic building.
It happened around 3 p.m. on E and Yosemite Streets.
Fire investigators were still trying to find the cause of the fire, but said it started inside and several employees reported seeing light smoke.
The owner of the building, Susan Savage, said it’s been in her family for generations, and at this point she’s still trying to process what happened.
“The flames just kept getting higher and higher next thing you know the building collapsed,” Jorge Orozzo a witness said.
Savage said she started getting calls shortly after it broke out. “The flames were 30 feet in the sky, it just was taking everything out,” she said.
The building was passed down from her grandfather, to mother, to her and housed several businesses.
“We’ve got a lot of time and energy and love in it. We get close to our tenants and we’re heartbroken for them because I don’t know where they’re going to go now,” Savage said.
More than 50 firefighters from three counties worked to stop the flames from spreading.
“We have support from Cal-Fire throughout the mountain communities sending firefighters to give us a hand as well as Fresno County, city, Madera County as well as Merced County fire departments,” Jeremy Rahn with Cal-Fire said.
Mayor Andy Medellin said it’s a major blow to the downtown — an area the city has been working to revitalize.
“We’re going to lose jobs. We’re going to lose businesses. That’s really not what we’re about these are livelihoods of the people that live here in Madera,” Medellin said.
Fire officials said the building is from the 1800’s and had no sprinkler system. The cause is still under investigation. No one was hurt.
“It’s a historic building, the history is just phenomenal, it’s just heartbreaking to see it lost,” Savage said.