2-alarm fire burns through 5 stores

None of the businesses were open when the fire started at the two-story commercial structure around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 18

VISALIA – A late night fire last Wednesday destroyed five businesses who will be forced to relocate or close down for good.

At about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, firefighters responded to the first alarm assignment for a commercial structure fire in the 1200 block of East Houston Avenue. Heavy smoke was billowing from the front corner of the two-story building. As the first fire unit tried to knock down exterior flames, a second alarm was called. The second fire crew forced their way into the building, but once inside they discovered the fire had run through the length of the attic space of the entire building.

Fire crews immediately exited the building before the entire roof collapsed into two businesses on the second floor. Once the bulk of the fire was knocked down approximately one hour into the fire fight crews then re-entered the building to extinguish hot spots and assess the damage. Twenty-two firefighters with four engines, two ladder trucks, one air and rehabilitation unit, and three chief officers responded to this fire.

There was approximately $350,000 in property damage to the structure and approximately $300,000 to its contents in all five of the businesses. The property was valued at $750,000. All businesses were closed at the time of the fire, so there were no injuries to any civilians or fire personnel.

The fire started on the exterior of the structure and quickly traveled up to the second story near an exterior stairwell and then spread into the common attic space of this building. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Grass and brush fire damages home

The night before there was a grass and brush fire which threatened homes in the 300 and 4000 blocks of E. Walnut Avenue. The fire began at about 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 18 in a vacant lot near homes in the area of Walnut and Garden Street. The fire quickly spread into the attic of one of the homes, causing an unknown amount of damage. Additional engines were requested to assist on the fire. In all, four engines, one ladder truck, one battalion chief and a rehabilitation unit, which offers firefighters a respite from high temperatures of the weather and fire, responded to the alarm. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Firefighters put out fire in 10 minutes

Visalia firefighters made quick work of a fire on Aug. 16. Smoke was reported at a home in the 400 block of West Sweet Avenue just after noon. Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from a rear bedroom window. The first engine quickly attacked the fire and a second crew entered the home and did a quick search to make sure no one was inside. Seventeen firefighters with four engines, a ladder truck, rehab unit and two command vehicles were able to extinguish the fire within 10 minutes of arrival; however, crews remained on scene for another two hours to ensure the fire was out. No injuries resulted from this incident.

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