High-speed rail building burns. Fresno fire chief says it’ll be difficult determining cause

A vacant building set to be demolished for California’s high-speed rail project went up in flames in south Fresno on Friday evening.

The old Alert-O-Lite building near Golden State Boulevard and Church Avenue caught fire around 6 p.m., according to Fresno Fire Department Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo.

Firefighters quickly searched the building for victims – they found no one – and evacuated a neighboring halfway house, Escobedo said. The fire did not spread to any other buildings, and no one was injured.

Because of the extensive damage, it will be difficult to pinpoint the cause of the fire, Escobedo said.

“The danger here is this building is unreinforced masonry built back in 1933 and they collapse quite easily,” Escobedo said. “Now with the ceiling and roof completely gone, you have four walls that are ready to go.”

About 40 firefighters were called to the incident.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPanoo

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