An early-morning fire Saturday in Kingsburg destroyed a historic downtown building and businesses including a church coffeehouse and caused one injury to a firefighter.
Kingsburg Fire Chief Tim Ray said there’s no official damage estimate, but he believed the total will reach around $1 million. No cause has been determined.
The building on Draper Street at California Street once housed a hotel on the second floor, but Ray said that part of the building hasn’t been occupied for decades. The California Street side faces the railroad tracks and is visible from the elevated portion of Highway 99 that runs through Kingsburg.
The first floor is part of the vibrant Kingsburg downtown filled with small shops. Most notable is the Common Ground, a coffeehouse run by the Kingsburg church New Life Ministries. Other businesses are J&L Capital Resources, L.T. Enterprises, an agricultural firm and the White Lily Day Spa salon.
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Ray said firefighters were able to save an adjoining building on Draper that houses the Village Mall thanks to adjoining brick walls. Because the fire had already stressed the roof of the former hotel, firefighters went to the roof of the Village Mall to pour water onto the fire.
“We’re pretty much sure it started at the roof or second floor,” Ray said. “The roof is gone and the second floor is unsafe to get up on.”
The two brick walls separating the neighboring buildings “made a great fire stop,” Ray said. He said firefighters were able to shoot water onto the fire from the roof of the neighboring building.
The fire was initially reported at 12:06 a.m. by off-duty reserve firefighter Chris Garcia. Firefighters were at the scene four minutes later. The blaze was contained about 1:30 a.m.
Ray said the Village Mall building has some water damage.
Village Mall business owner John Runner said water depth inside the businesses had receded as the day wore on. He said the water damage was minor and that shop owners are fortunate two brick walls exist between the buildings.
Firefighters from Kingsburg, Selma, Sanger, Fresno city, Fresno County, Kings County and Tulare County helped extinguish the blaze. Overall, a dozen fire engines and trucks were on the scene. Ray estimated up to 40 firefighters at the scene. Ray said the injured firefighter, from Tulare County, had a knee injury that was treated at the scene.