Downtown Fresno fire guts former Ace tire building (video)

The Fresno BeeMay 29, 2014 

Fire destroyed another landmark building in downtown Fresno on Thursday morning when flames ripped through the decades-old Ace tire building at Ventura and Broadway streets.

The three-alarm blaze broke out at the abandoned building shortly before 8:30 a.m. and was called in by Fire Chief Kerri Donis, who was driving by when she noticed smoke.

About 70 firefighters responded. Donis said her department treated its work as "defensive" from the start -- because the combination of the building's age and absence of threat to people and surrounding property made it not worth the risk to firefighters to do anything else.

The flames were gone within an hour -- but not before the roof collapsed inside the 20,000-square-foot building.

The city decided to act quickly. A demolition crew from Kroeker Inc. was brought in to demolish the now-fragile building. The work began around 3:30 p.m. and was expected to last well into the night. Ventura will be closed between G Street and Broadway until the demolition is complete.

Ace is the latest building to be destroyed in the area. Less than two weeks ago, the former Del Monte packinghouse fell to flames at Tulare and G streets.

Staff writer Katie Elwood contributed to this report. The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6339, jguy@fresnobee.com or @jimguy27 on Twitter.

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