Vacant Fresno building burns down after two fires in one week


FRESNO, California (KGPE/ KSEE) – Fresno Firefighters are investigating a blaze at a business near Belmont and Mariposa.

The former Sew & Vacuums went up in flames early Wednesday morning. It’s not the first fire at this building: there was another one just last week.

The auto repair business next door calls the abandoned building a nuisance and the owner is glad it’s finally gone.

“I was very very worried when they called us, one of the residents called us to let us know the building was on fire, so we came very quick,” said Maria Ortiz, owner of Chill’s Auto Repair.

Ortiz relocated her business here four months ago. Since then, she said the building has been causing problems.

“There were homeless people going inside the building, several times they opened the building to go inside.”

Fresno Fire Department said there was a lot of property left inside feeding the flames.

“There were signs that people had gotten into the building that probably shouldn’t have been there,” said Deputy Fire Marshal Jay Tracy.

According to investigators, the fire caused major damage and even tied up resources when another fire broke out at the same time.

“Fire was burning through the roof, so the roof collapsed in as well as the east wall collapsed out onto the sidewalk and into the street, so we kind of bumped up the priority in making sure that scene was safe,” Tracy explained.

To ensure the area is safe, Fresno Fire worked with code enforcement to have the building demolished.

“They’re basically going to keep it within the footprint of the property as best they can and make sure it’s safe for the community,” says Tracy.

While they were working, crews were surprised by a swarm of bees discovered to have been living in the walls. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

Investigators say they have been unable to get in contact with the building’s owner.

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